WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WTNH) — JetBlue Airlines is officially expanding service at Bradley International Airport, adding four non-stop routes. This service expansion makes JetBlue the largest carrier in the Hartford area.
The expansion comes after Governor Ned Lamont changed the state’s travel quarantine requirements, allowing travelers to bypass the state’s 14-day quarantine after arriving from hotspots if their COVID-19 test is negative.
During the global pandemic, business travel is down. Visiting family and leisure travel is up according to JetBlue airline executives.
“We are thrilled to be expanding even in this environment.“ said Scott Laurence from JetBlue.
The new routes seen on the above JetBlue Map show Bradley International Airport connecting to major hubs around the United States and Mexico.
Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Cancún, Mexico are all part of JetBlue’s strategy to add routes with high potential for leisure demand.
Scott Laurence, Head of Revenue and Planning JetBlue, “We have a high level of confidence these will work well after the crisis as well and has us poised to be successful.”
JetBlue representatives tell News 8 the tri-state COVID quarantine was having a big impact on business.
Pre-pandemic Connecticut’s only international airport contributed $3.6 billion to the regional economy.
At the height of the pandemic in April, officials say business fell nearly 97%!
Laurence believes, “Governor Lamont’s idea to have a test out option and to simplify the guidance for people traveling to the impacted states really drove our decision to move quickly right now.”
“People were finding it very difficult to take a trip and quarantine for 14 days,” added Kevin Dillion, the Executive Director of Connecticut’s Airport Authority pushed for that rule change, allowing travelers from COVID-19 hot spots to show a “negative” test result within 72-hours of arrival to avoid the two-week quarantine.
Dillion says it could take three years for the airport to get back to pre-pandemic revenue levels: “We’re hopeful this will start a spark with other carriers will put back service and we can start on the road to recovery.”
Passengers can fly to Cancun starting Nov. 19, 2020. Flights to the other three destinations will be available starting Dec. 18, 2020.
The airline will continue to offer non-stop routes from Bradley to several areas in Florida as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico.
JetBlue hopes to be the largest carrier in all of Connecticut by 2021.