JetBlue adding service out of Islip’s Long Island MacArthur Airport to Florida

JetBlue Airways will start flying out of Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma in October, with nonstop service to three Florida destinations, Islip Town officials said Tuesday.

JetBlue, the sixth largest airline in the nation, will become the fourth airline flying out of the Islip Town-owned airport, joining Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Breeze Airways. 

Starting in late October, the low-cost carrier will operate daily service between Islip and Orlando, and four round-trip flights weekly between the Long Island airport and Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach.

“Our airport customers across Long Island have been expressing their clear enthusiasm for more air service at ISP, and JetBlue is consistently one of the most frequent requests,” Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter said in a statement.

The addition of the major airline is the latest in a spate of upgrades at the airport that have encompassed more than $100 million in planning and capital projects since 2016, including a ground transportation center and walkway and a fire rescue building.

The pending $2.8 billion Midway Crossing proposal is expected to build a walkway connecting a new MacArthur air terminal to Ronkonkoma’s Long Island Rail Road Station. The proposal calls for 2.7 million square feet of new construction, including a convention center, a 300-room hotel and health sciences facilities. 

An environmental review that was slated to start in the spring is on hold while officials wait for infrastructure funding from the state, according to Mitch Pally, who chairs the nonprofit local development corporation that is guiding the project.

Ahead of the summer season, Transportation Security Administration at MacArthur has rolled out new identification technology, with a camera designed to scan photo IDs and confirm a traveler’s identity and flight details.

Town officials, along with the announcement of JetBlue, also touted a nearly 23% increase in domestic seats from air carriers flying out of MacArthur this April, compared with April last year — more than any other commercial airport in New York or New England. 

“JetBlue is a New York hometown airline for 24 years. … Our community has been clamoring for JetBlue service,” said Airport Commissioner Shelley LaRose-Arken, adding the Ronkonkoma airport anticipates an increase in passengers as a result. 

Florida is the most popular destination for all of New York, she said, including MacArthur. 

JetBlue is offering $49 “special introductory” fares to Florida through June 13, after which average ticket prices may vary based on factors such as demand and time of year, a company spokesperson said. 

Dave Jehn, JetBlue’s vice president of network planning and airline partnerships, similarly said the three destinations chosen by JetBlue to fly out of MacArthur are among the most popular destinations for Long Islanders.

Around 1.2 million passengers arrived and departed from MacArthur Airport in 2023, LaRose-Arken said. 

“JetBlue is one of the nation’s most popular low-cost air carriers, and Long Island will most certainly see an economic shot in the arm from a surge in travelers at Long Island MacArthur Airport,” Matt Cohen, president and CEO of the Long Island Association, a nonprofit business organization, said in a statement.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who has lobbied for funding for the Ronkonkoma airport, similarly lauded the airline’s expansion to Long Island.

“The success of the airport is key to a more vibrant Long Island economy,” he said in a statement. 

Long Island economist Martin Cantor agrees, for the most part. 

“It’s a big deal for Long Island,” said Cantor, who is director of the Long Island Center for Socio-Economic Policy. He conducted two economic impact studies involving the airport and Midway Crossing in 2015 and 2021.

Long Islanders have “untapped propensity to travel,” he said, and the airline “could attract passengers” who do not want to travel to Kennedy Airport.

JetBlue’s flights from Long Island also mean a boost to the region’s reputation and adds another airline option for regional travelers, he said. 

But, he said, the added routes also mean that Long Island is continuing to export travelers to Florida.

“Nobody from Florida is coming to Long Island to spend tourism dollars. Florida is like the tourism capital,” Cantor said.

He also said JetBlue’s decision to fly out of MacArthur happens to coincide with “major construction” at Kennedy that can cause delays for travelers. 

“I don’t believe in coincidences in the airline industry,” he said. 

Before JetBlue, Breeze Airways was the airline to most recently add service from Islip, with flights starting in 2022. JetBlue founder David Neeleman launched the low-cost carrier in 2018 and it began flying in 2021.

But, while the news comes at a high for MacArthur, the announcement for JetBlue comes in the midst of company hardships.

JetBlue ranked ninth out of the nation’s 10 largest airlines in both canceled flights and on-time arrivals last year, according to U.S. Transportation Department numbers.

The New York-based airline this month plans to pull services out of multiple cities, drop several destinations from Los Angeles, and end services connecting other cities, including between Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Atlanta, AP has reported.

JetBlue has lost more than $2 billion since its last profitable year, 2019, AP said. Federal suits have blocked the airline from a partnership with American Airlines, and from buying Spirit Airlines, with a judge saying the proposed $3.8 billion deal violated antitrust law. 

Thomas Legere, 69, of Southport, North Carolina, sitting on a bench outside the airport on Tuesday, said he’s “ecstatic” about the news. 

“It’s such a pain in the neck to go to JFK or LaGuardia to get JetBlue,” said Legere, who is from Long Island and frequently travels through MacArthur for work.

“I’ve often heard of JetBlue. It’s a very good company,” Amos Remy of Haiti said in French.

Stephanie Pintucci, 41, of Lindenhurst, traveling to California out of MacArthur with her family on Tuesday, said she frequently travels to Orlando. But will she switch to JetBlue?

“It depends on the price,” she said.

With Steve Langford and James Carbone

JetBlue Airways will start flying out of Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma in October, with nonstop service to three Florida destinations, Islip Town officials said Tuesday.

JetBlue, the sixth largest airline in the nation, will become the fourth airline flying out of the Islip Town-owned airport, joining Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Breeze Airways. 

Starting in late October, the low-cost carrier will operate daily service between Islip and Orlando, and four round-trip flights weekly between the Long Island airport and Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach.

“Our airport customers across Long Island have been expressing their clear enthusiasm for more air service at ISP, and JetBlue is consistently one of the most frequent requests,” Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter said in a statement.

The addition of the major airline is the latest in a spate of upgrades at the airport that have encompassed more than $100 million in planning and capital projects since 2016, including a ground transportation center and walkway and a fire rescue building.

The pending $2.8 billion Midway Crossing proposal is expected to build a walkway connecting a new MacArthur air terminal to Ronkonkoma’s Long Island Rail Road Station. The proposal calls for 2.7 million square feet of new construction, including a convention center, a 300-room hotel and health sciences facilities. 

An environmental review that was slated to start in the spring is on hold while officials wait for infrastructure funding from the state, according to Mitch Pally, who chairs the nonprofit local development corporation that is guiding the project.

Ahead of the summer season, Transportation Security Administration at MacArthur has rolled out new identification technology, with a camera designed to scan photo IDs and confirm a traveler’s identity and flight details.

Town officials, along with the announcement of JetBlue, also touted a nearly 23% increase in domestic seats from air carriers flying out of MacArthur this April, compared with April last year — more than any other commercial airport in New York or New England. 

“JetBlue is a New York hometown airline for 24 years. … Our community has been clamoring for JetBlue service,” said Airport Commissioner Shelley LaRose-Arken, adding the Ronkonkoma airport anticipates an increase in passengers as a result. 

Florida is the most popular destination for all of New York, she said, including MacArthur. 

JetBlue is offering $49 “special introductory” fares to Florida through June 13, after which average ticket prices may vary based on factors such as demand and time of year, a company spokesperson said. 

Dave Jehn, JetBlue’s vice president of network planning and airline partnerships, similarly said the three destinations chosen by JetBlue to fly out of MacArthur are among the most popular destinations for Long Islanders.

Around 1.2 million passengers arrived and departed from MacArthur Airport in 2023, LaRose-Arken said. 

“JetBlue is one of the nation’s most popular low-cost air carriers, and Long Island will most certainly see an economic shot in the arm from a surge in travelers at Long Island MacArthur Airport,” Matt Cohen, president and CEO of the Long Island Association, a nonprofit business organization, said in a statement.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who has lobbied for funding for the Ronkonkoma airport, similarly lauded the airline’s expansion to Long Island.

“The success of the airport is key to a more vibrant Long Island economy,” he said in a statement. 

Long Island economist Martin Cantor agrees, for the most part. 

“It’s a big deal for Long Island,” said Cantor, who is director of the Long Island Center for Socio-Economic Policy. He conducted two economic impact studies involving the airport and Midway Crossing in 2015 and 2021.

Long Islanders have “untapped propensity to travel,” he said, and the airline “could attract passengers” who do not want to travel to Kennedy Airport.

JetBlue’s flights from Long Island also mean a boost to the region’s reputation and adds another airline option for regional travelers, he said. 

But, he said, the added routes also mean that Long Island is continuing to export travelers to Florida.

“Nobody from Florida is coming to Long Island to spend tourism dollars. Florida is like the tourism capital,” Cantor said.

He also said JetBlue’s decision to fly out of MacArthur happens to coincide with “major construction” at Kennedy that can cause delays for travelers. 

“I don’t believe in coincidences in the airline industry,” he said. 

Before JetBlue, Breeze Airways was the airline to most recently add service from Islip, with flights starting in 2022. JetBlue founder David Neeleman launched the low-cost carrier in 2018 and it began flying in 2021.

But, while the news comes at a high for MacArthur, the announcement for JetBlue comes in the midst of company hardships.

JetBlue ranked ninth out of the nation’s 10 largest airlines in both canceled flights and on-time arrivals last year, according to U.S. Transportation Department numbers.

The New York-based airline this month plans to pull services out of multiple cities, drop several destinations from Los Angeles, and end services connecting other cities, including between Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Atlanta, AP has reported.

JetBlue has lost more than $2 billion since its last profitable year, 2019, AP said. Federal suits have blocked the airline from a partnership with American Airlines, and from buying Spirit Airlines, with a judge saying the proposed $3.8 billion deal violated antitrust law. 

Thomas Legere, 69, of Southport, North Carolina, sitting on a bench outside the airport on Tuesday, said he’s “ecstatic” about the news. 

“It’s such a pain in the neck to go to JFK or LaGuardia to get JetBlue,” said Legere, who is from Long Island and frequently travels through MacArthur for work.

“I’ve often heard of JetBlue. It’s a very good company,” Amos Remy of Haiti said in French.

Stephanie Pintucci, 41, of Lindenhurst, traveling to California out of MacArthur with her family on Tuesday, said she frequently travels to Orlando. But will she switch to JetBlue?

“It depends on the price,” she said.

With Steve Langford and James Carbone

JetBlue flights between Islip and Florida

Daily flights to Orlando will begin Oct. 24

  • Flights will depart Orlando at 7:30 a.m., landing at 10:30 a.m. in Islip.
  • Flights from Islip will depart at 11:15 a.m., arriving in Orlando at 2:15 p.m.

Flights to West Palm Beach will begin Oct. 24 four times weekly

  • Flights will depart West Palm Beach at 10:55 a.m., arriving in Islip at 1:55 p.m.
  • Flights will depart Islip at 2:40 p.m., arriving in West Palm Beach at 5:40 p.m.
  • Flights will operate between the two destinations on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Flights to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood will begin Oct. 25 four times weekly

  • Flights from Fort Lauderdale will depart at 8:35 a.m., arriving in Islip at 11:35 a.m.
  • Flights from Islip will depart at 12:20 p.m., arriving in Fort Lauderdale at 3:20 p.m. 
  • Flights will operate between the two destinations on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

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