You are reading

JetBlue Will Keep Its Headquarters in Long Island City and Strengthen Its Queens Presence

JetBlue’s headquarters at the Brewster Building in Long Island City (Photo: Creative Commons)

Aug. 3, 2021 By Allie Griffin

“New York’s hometown airline” will stay in Queens and add 1,800 jobs at New York City-area airports, the company announced Tuesday.

JetBlue will keep its headquarters in Long Island City when its current lease ends in July 2023, despite earlier reports that the company was considering a move to Florida.

The airline has called LIC home for nearly a decade, but it was considering shifting its headquarters to the sunshine state ahead of its lease expiration. However, the airline now plans to remain in the Brewster Building, located at 27-01 Queens Plaza North and the site of its headquarters since 2012.

The company decided to stay put after conducting an in-depth review and competitive bid process, JetBlue’s CEO Robin Hayes said.

“New York is in JetBlue’s DNA and inspires everything we do,” Hayes said. “Our comprehensive review found that keeping our headquarters in the city was the right thing for our crewmembers, our brand, and our business.”

JetBlue will negotiate and execute a new lease over the next few months at the Brewster Building, but the company didn’t say how much office space it intends to rent.

JetBlue plans to “re-design its [Long Island City] office space to be responsive to rapidly evolving workplace trends that have accelerated during the pandemic,” according to a company press release.

Many corporate offices are shifting to work-from-home or hybrid models in light of the pandemic.

JetBlue didn’t specify how many of the 1,300 jobs currently based out of LIC will remain there after the new lease is signed. A spokesperson for the company didn’t immediately respond to the question.

Queens elected officials had raised alarm when an internal company memo, detailing the possibility that JetBlue could leave Long Island City, was published by the New York Post in March.

JetBlue wrote in the March 11 memo to staffers that it was eyeing alternative options to Long Island City, where more than 1,300 employees are based. The options included shifting corporate jobs to Florida, where the company has a training facility and some corporate support functions in Orlando.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer called Hayes following the original report in March and urged him to keep its headquarters in Queens.

Hayes thanked Schumer in a statement Tuesday, referring to him as a “steadfast friend and strong supporter since our founding 21 years ago.”

“No one has been there more in the most pivotal moments of our history, leading the way for crucial payroll support during this pandemic through the CARES Act, allowing us to continue our record of never furloughing a single crewmember,” Hayes said.

Hayes also announced that JetBlue would add more than 1,800 jobs at area airports including JFK, LaGuardia and Newark. The company will hire more staff to support new flights and destinations it is adding as a result of its “Northeast Alliance” partnership with American Airlines.

The airline plans to nearly triple its flights at LaGuardia and substantially increase flying at JFK and Newark.

“Thousands of new jobs connected to JetBlue’s growing presence at JFK, paired with the company re-affirming its commitment to being NYC’s hometown airline are great news…,” Schumer said in a statement. “I am encouraged that having survived the worst of [the pandemic], JetBlue is adding jobs, reinvesting, and recommitting to New York.”

The announcement comes as JetBlue is expanding its footprint at both JFK and LaGuardia airports.

The Port Authority is set to approve plans put together by a joint venture—that includes JetBlue—for a new $3.9 billion, 1.2 million square foot terminal at JFK, which will replace existing, aging facilities. The development of the terminal will provide additional gates for JetBlue and is expected to create more than 4,000 direct jobs — both on-site and off-site — and direct payroll wages of $1.9 billion, according to the Port Authority.

Hayes said JetBlue remains committed to New York City.

“Some people call New York the Big Apple. Others call it the center of the universe. At JetBlue, we call it home,” he said. “A lot of out-of-town airlines like to talk big about New York City, but as the only airline based right here, no one knows like we do why this city has always been – and still is – such a great place to live, work and visit.”

Queens officials celebrated the announcement Tuesday.

“JetBlue is a valuable corporate partner here in Queens, and I am overjoyed they will keep their headquarters in Long Island City,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “By remaining here in Queens, our borough is connected to one of the world’s largest airlines and entrusted with thousands of jobs that will surely revitalize our economy.”

Long Island City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer said today’s news made it a great day for the district and all of New York City.

“I’m thrilled that JetBlue, New York’s Hometown Airline, will keep the heart of its operations here in Long Island City, Queens!” Van Bramer said. “JetBlue’s arrival in LIC over a decade ago was met with great excitement and their sign atop the Brewster building has become an iconic local landmark.”

Other local leaders also applauded the news.

“JetBlue’s decision to recommit to Queens is a welcome one for our borough’s entire business community, as we forge ahead together in the wake of the pandemic,” said Tom Grech, president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce.

“JetBlue has long been known as ‘New York’s Hometown Airline,’ and we are thrilled that they intend to keep it that way, staying right here in Queens, assuring jobs will remain in Queens and providing a special boost to the Long Island City economy.”

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

Raga sworn in as first-ever Filipino American elected to the state Legislature

More than 300 community members attended the historic inauguration of Assemblyman Steven Raga as the first Filipino American elected to office in New York state.

Many who attended the swearing-in event at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park wore traditional and cultural attire to the event at the building that once housed the General Assembly of the newly formed United Nations from 1946 to 1950 until its current home in Manhattan became available for the world body.

These Queens eateries are participating in the upcoming NYC Restaurant Week

NYC Restaurant Week is underway, so nix that skillet and bring family and friends to your favorite neighborhood spot, or get inspired and break bread somewhere new and different. During this special citywide culinary event, food-lovers will enjoy curated menus and prix-fixe prices that are easy on the wallet.

Bookings began on Jan. 17 and are available until Feb. 12, and you can reserve a table at 30 participating Queens restaurants, along with hundreds more across the five boroughs.

Man dies in East Elmhurst house fire that left 10 others injured: FDNY

A man was killed in a fire that broke out inside an East Elmhurst home that also left 10 others injured late Friday night, according to the FDNY.

The FDNY received a call regarding the two-alarm fire that broke out just after 11 p.m. in a three-story residential home at 24-37 89th St. on Friday, Jan. 20. FDNY sent 25 units consisting of 106 firefighters and EMS workers to the scene. Additionally, officers from the 115th Precinct responded to the scene.