True Blue: JetBlue to Stay in New York City

Airline decides not to become a "Mickey Mouse" operation

Monday, Mar 22, 2010  |  Updated 2:03 PM EDT
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True Blue: JetBlue to Stay in New York City

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JetBlue isn't going anywhere. Well.. you know what we mean.

JetBlue will keep its corporate headquarters in New York City after considering a possible move to Orlando, Fla.

The company said Monday it will move about 1,000 staffers from two area offices to a new location in Long Island City, in the New York City borough of Queens. The carrier's main office is currently in neighboring Forest Hills. It also has a small finance department in Darien, Conn.

The airline mulled a move out of New York for more than a year and recently narrowed the alternatives to Orlando, the site of its training facility.

Moving to Orlando, the home of Disney World, would have meant a brand adjustment for the carrier, which calls itself "New York's Hometown Airline." JetBlue's first flight took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport on Feb. 11, 2000. It is now the biggest carrier at JFK and the seventh-largest in the country. It is the only airline based in New York.

The lease on JetBlue's current headquarters expires in 2012. The Connecticut office's lease runs out next year.

To help convince JetBlue to stay put, New York City offered to invest up to $3 million in the airline's Terminal 5 at Kennedy Airport. The airline in turn said it will create up to 200 new jobs in the city over the next five years. JetBlue and New York State have also agreed to a joint branding deal for the iconic "I Love NY" logo.

"There was a time when New York might have taken such an exercise lightly, relying on the city's reputation to win out," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. "But cities across the country and around the world are engaged in an increasingly competitive environment to attract growing companies, and — while we can't always compete on cost — we've worked extremely hard to strengthen and highlight New York City's competitive advantages."

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