SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico--(BUSINESS WIRE)--JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU), Puerto Rico’s largest airline, marked the return of its full flight schedule on the island after last year’s hurricanes by celebrating with customers, crewmembers and partners today at San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU). JetBlue’s return of capacity, which coincides with its 16th anniversary of service in San Juan, came six months earlier than originally planned, given the improved demand for travel to Puerto Rico as the island continues to recover from Hurricane Maria and welcomes new visitors.
To support the increase in service, JetBlue has hired 50 new crewmembers for its San Juan operation, with the new crewmembers joining the airline just in time for the summer peak season. Along with JetBlue’s nearly 500 crewmembers based in Puerto Rico, they will support JetBlue’s up to 48 daily flights between Puerto Rico and 13 cities in the U.S. and the Caribbean (a).
In the days after Hurricane Maria made landfall, JetBlue introduced the 100x35JetBlue initiative, with 35 ways and 100 days - and beyond - of caring for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. The initiatives provided immediate first needs for the community, while also focusing on long-term, productive partnerships with key entities, such as the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), to encourage the return of tourism, contribute to the local economy, and invest in the island’s future. JetBlue has gradually increased its flights as demand has grown from 'visiting friends and relatives customers' who travel back and forth to the island. JetBlue has also been working with PRTC to encourage visitors to return to Puerto Rico and to offer world-class hospitality both in the air and on the ground through JetBlue’s hospitality training for industry workers.
“Our return to our pre-hurricane flight count is a testament to the incredible resilience of Puerto Rico and our crewmembers who kept flights operating during a very difficult period,” said Dave Clark, vice president sales and revenue management for JetBlue. “We are honored to be the airline that brings Puerto Rican families together and transports tourists to the beautiful beaches and attractions of this great region. We will continue to partner with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company to bring back tourism to this beautiful island.”
“The best way to celebrate JetBlue's 16th anniversary on the Island is precisely by receiving the passengers that mark the total stabilization of service of Puerto Rico’s main airline. The fact that JetBlue has been able to match seat capacity levels to pre-hurricane figures 6 months earlier than expected, shows that demand has increased and that we are on track for a historic recovery. Likewise, the creation of 50 new jobs as a result of the increase in operations is a testament to the trust and commitment that JetBlue has with Puerto Rico,” said Carla G. Campos, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. “Governor Ricardo Rosselló's trust in the Tourism Company has strengthened our relations with industry partners, and led us on the path to recovery in the private sector. Our alliance with JetBlue is precisely what has led us to obtain these important achievements."
Investing in Puerto Rico’s Future
JetBlue’s long-term 100x35JetBlue initiatives continue within the community, most recently with an announcement this week that as part of its 16th anniversary celebration of service to Puerto Rico, the JetBlue Foundation has pledged $100,000 worth of grants to STEM education programs on the island. Grants from the JetBlue Foundation will help further the airline’s efforts to invest in the island’s future and place aviation fields top-of-mind as career choices for students. The JetBlue Foundation will award $100,000 to qualified schools and organizations to fuel learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The JetBlue Foundation is currently accepting letters of inquiry for grants through June 29, 2018. To help other STEM and aviation-focused organizations navigate the application process, Inter American University of Puerto Rico, a previous JetBlue Foundation grant recipient, will offer a grant writing workshop. The school will share best practices that helped them receive a grant in 2016 for its “Girls in Aviation” program which aims to spark an interest in STEM for girls ages 10-17. The workshop will take place on June 22 at the Inter American School of Law in Hato Rey. Guests can RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org. RSVPs are required for attendance. For grant criteria or to submit a letter of inquiry, interested organizations can visit jetbluefoundation.org/grants. Grant recipients will be announced in fall 2018.
In addition, this summer the JetBlue Foundation and the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) will host their second annual Aviation Career Education (ACE) Academy initiative in San Juan, introducing students ages 14 to 18 to careers in aviation.
JetBlue’s hurricane recovery efforts also include projects aimed at restoring the island’s natural resources and beauty. JetBlue’s recent “Green Up” campaign included two Puerto Rico-based conservation organizations customers could vote to select to receive “Green Up” grants, with Centro de Restauración: Vida Marina Center for Coastal Restoration and Conservation at the University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla having been chosen to receive a $15,000 grant.
JetBlue’s crewmembers in San Juan volunteered more than 1,000 hours in the local community during 2017 and won the JetBlue “Blue City of the Year” Award. As winners of this honor, the team will get to donate $10,000 to their favorite charity.
JetBlue continues to raise awareness for Puerto Rico to ensure a continued focus on the island’s different needs. For more information and updates on JetBlue’s 100x35JetBlue initiative, and ways to assist in Puerto Rico’s continued recovery, visit www.jetblue.com/100x35. To book flights to Puerto Rico, please visit jetblue.com or call 1-800-JETBLUE.
About JetBlue Airways
JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline®, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 40 million customers a year to 102 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of 1,000 daily flights. For more information please visit jetblue.com.
(a) Schedules subject to change. Flight schedule varies by day of week through mid-August.