Jetblue will no longer fly between Long Beach and Washington, D.C. File photo.
Jetblue Airways is cutting four routes, including Long Beach Airport to Washington Dulles International Airport, to free up airplanes for its new flights at Washington Reagan National Airport, the carrier told Today in the Sky. The final flight will be Sept. 2.
With route authorities it is taking over from American and US Airways, which were required to divest of them in order to merge, Jetblue plans soon boost its Washington National operation to 30 departures per day. But those airplanes have to come from somewhere.
Jetblue will retain transcontinental routes to Boston and New York from Long Beach.
According to Today in the Sky, JetBlue is also ending these routes:
- West Palm Beach-San Juan, Puerto Rico: Last flight is June 16
- San Francisco-Austin: Last flight is June 16
- Oakland-Washington Dulles: Last flight is June 16
- Buffalo-Fort Myers, Fla.: Seasonal market, will not resume in November
Virgin America is doing something similar, according to Airchive.com. It’s ending flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Philadelphia so it will have planes to put in three markets – Dallas Love Field, New York LaGuardia, and Washington Reagan.
Mario Rodriguez, executive director of Long Beach Airport since 2009, is moving on to run the Indianapolis Airport Authority, officials said Monday.
Rodriguez is well regarded in the industry for putting a focus on passengers. He led the renovation of Long Beach Airport’s major renovation, which was completed in 2012. The new concourse cost only $45 million, which is extraordinarily inexpensive by airport standards. The concourse has won a slew of awards.
But Long Beach is a small airport, with only about 3 million annual passengers. Indianapolis services more than twice as many passengers, having handled about 7.2 million travelers last year. Indianapolis is also an international airport, unlike Long Beach. So this is a step up for Rodriguez.
JetBlue Airways is once again offering slightly discounted fares to Long Beach Airport travelers who purchase in bulk through its Gopack program.
For about $1,000 plus $69 in taxes, you’ll be buying 10 separate segments for a handful of Long Beach routes. You can buy until March 31 and you’ll have to use your segments by June 17, though the program is blacked out between April 11, 2014 and April 28, 2014. These are the routes for which the vouchers are valid:
Long Beach, CA (LGB) to/from San Francisco, CA (SFO)
Long Beach, CA (LGB) to/from Oakland, CA (OAK)
Long Beach, CA (LGB) to/from Sacramento, CA (SMF)
This is not really a deal for leisure travelers. If you’re buying in advance, you can find a ticket from Long Beach to San Francisco for $69 each way. But these segments are much more flexible than Jetblue’s typical business-traveler oriented tickets. You’re able book at the last minute or change your flight up to 90 minutes before departure with only a $75 fee. The last minute flights purchased by business passengers are generally a lot pricier than $100 each way.
There’s also a six segment package for $700 plus $39 in taxes. And Jetblue is doing similar promotions with East Coast flights from New York and Boston. See them all here.
What do you think? Is the Long Beach promotion a good deal for your needs?
What’s the target market for Long Beach Airport?
According to some materials I obtained last week from the airport, it’s the 1.5 million potential passengers living within about 11 miles of the airport. Not a bad home market, especially considering the airport is about halfway between Los Angeles International Airport and John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana. The demographics are strong.
In my story about Long Beach Airport’s strengths that ran earlier this week, airport manager Mario Rodriguez said the ‘yields’ airlines get a little higher the farther south you go in the catchment area. Essentially that means that the closer you get to Orange County, the higher fares passengers are willing to pay.
If you believe this slide, below, Long Beach officials are pleased with the stature of the airport, which is limited, by noise regulations, to 66 commercial departures daily. (Only 41 of those flights can be on relatively large airplanes, like the A320 and 737. The other 25 slots go to so-called commuter airplanes, like the CR2 and CR7. Many of those slots are unused.)
According to Long Beach officials, the airport could probably grow slightly if noise restrictions loosened. (That’s probably a moot issue. While I haven’t been covering the airport for that long, I don’t think city council leaders are prepared to make substantive changes to the ordinance.)