Jetblue will stop Long Beach to Washington Dulles flight

Jetblue will no longer fly between Long Beach and Washington, D.C. File photo.

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.

 

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The Los Angeles basin has relatively cheap airfare, according to federal data

Long Beach Airport has the cheapest fares in the nation by one metric. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova/Staff Photographer.

Long Beach Airport has the cheapest fares in the nation by one metric. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova/Staff Photographer.

Greater Los Angeles is a good place to buy domestic airfare, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

The L.A. Basin had an average domestic roundtrip airfare of 383.55 in the fourth quarter of 2013, a number that has dropped 12.5 percent since 2000, when the average airfare was 438.41. (The fares are inflation adjusted, so 2013 numbers can be compared to 2000.) Among major metropolitan areas, only Chicago had a lower average airfare at the end of 2013.

Region Inflation Adjusted Average Fare 4Q 2000 Inflation Adjusted Average Fare 4Q 2010 Inflation Adjusted Average Fare 4Q 2011 Inflation Adjusted Average Fare 4Q 2012 Inflation Adjusted Average Fare 4Q 2013 % change 2000-2013 % change 2012-2013
Greater New York City 544.78 396.73 415.22 412.92 434.12 -20.3 5.1
Greater Los Angeles 438.41 360.84 385.21 383 383.55 -12.5 0.1
Greater San Francisco 484.29 355.46 381.71 385.04 385.94 -20.3 0.2
Greater Chicago 466.59 352.56 359.02 368.16 382.22 -18.1 3.8
Greater Washington DC 461.3 360.97 387.9 378.33 384.01 -16.8 1.5
Greater Boston 504.09 343.82 360.87 375.03 369.21 -26.8 -1.6
Greater Dallas/Fort Worth 513.88 386.92 403.47 385.82 383.98 -25.3 -0.5
Greater Houston 452.8 397.8 431.69 446.52 436.84 -3.5 -2.2

The Los Angeles basin consists of Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena, Long Beach, Los Angeles Int’l, Ontario and Santa Ana.

Long Beach has the cheapest fares in the nation, with an average roundtrip fare of 248.63. You’ll probably see a lot of media coverage about this today. But just remember that Long Beach is a bit unusual. Flights from the airport are relatively short, mostly on the West Coast. And the main tenant, Jetblue, is considered a low-fare airline. The is a good thing for travelers who can use Long Beach. But this is not really a business plan other airports can borrow.

Here is our local, airport by airport chart.

Overall rank Region Inflation Adjusted Average Fare 4Q 2000 Inflation Adjusted Average Fare 4Q 2010 Inflation Adjusted Average Fare 4Q 2011 Inflation Adjusted Average Fare 4Q 2012 Inflation Adjusted Average Fare 4Q 2013 % change 2000-2013 % change 2012-2013
1 Long Beach 402.39 248.86 236.8 237.34 248.63 -38.2 4.8
3 Burbank 251.7 280.7 308.72 285.92 281.23 11.7 -1.6
16 Ontario 341.32 317.74 337.94 343.45 335.2 -1.8 -2.4
33 Santa Ana 490.48 350.04 371.16 371.77 369.41 -24.7 -0.6
76 Los Angeles 479.7 393.96 420.56 415.95 414.88 -13.5 -0.3
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Long Beach Airport director Mario Rodriguez is moving on, to Indianapolis

Rodriguez.

Rodriguez.

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.

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Jetblue is offering packages of 10 flights from Long Beach for $999. But is it a deal? It depends.

Jetblue 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?

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Can airports like BUR and ONT grow in ’14? Probably not, one consultant says.

Mike Boyd, the airline consultant we quoted recently criticizing Ontario city leaders for the outsize expectations for the airport, is out with his airline industry predictions for 2014. And just as he did with me, he pulls no punches.

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