JetBlue Flying Higher At BOS

Airline is expanding interline agreements with Hainan Airlines, Iberia and Turkish Airlines that will allow customers to check baggage through and connect to other cities via JetBlue flights.


Feb. 11--JetBlue Airways is taking advantage of Logan International Airport's growing nonstop international service to broaden its own business -- and heighten Boston's profile as a transportation hub for overseas travelers.

The New York-based discount airline is expanding from nine to 12 international partners in Boston through interline agreements with Hainan Airlines, Iberia and Turkish Airlines that will allow the foreign carriers' customers flying into Boston to check baggage through and connect to other cities via JetBlue flights.

"These airlines from around the world are looking at how dynamic a city (Boston) is, but they also look at us, and we can help offer connectivity," JetBlue CEO David Barger said during a stop in Boston yesterday. "I would never have thought of Boston as a hub and spoke for routes across the world when we started here 10 years ago."

JetBlue has operated for a decade at Logan and is the largest airline there. And its message for Massport, which runs Logan, is: "You need more international infrastructure," according to Barger.

"We call it 'leading the bird' -- how do you make sure you have even more infrastructure that you can grow into?" Barger said. "(Logan's) international arrival facility ... will be too small. During the peak hours, you may not be able to put a flight in there because it's saturated or will be."

Massport is considering expanding Terminal E by three gates, according to Norbert Strissel, a JetBlue director at Logan.

A Massport spokesman could not confirm those plans yesterday.

"We're going through a strategic planning exercise ...to look at all of our facilities," spokesman Richard Walsh said.

JetBlue also will reap benefits when existing international partner Emirates expands into Boston with daily nonstop flights to Dubai starting March 10.

"We expect at least 60 connecting customers a day," Strissel said.

JetBlue's upcoming service to Detroit, where there's a large Arab American population, was a major draw for Emirates, according to JetBlue. Its flights to Detroit -- its 51st destination from Boston -- also start March 10.

JetBlue, which marks its 14th year as an airline carrier today, will occupy all of Logan's Terminal C when United Airlines moves to Terminal B in mid-April. eventually increasing to 24 gates by next year. It's eyeing a new lobby area for better traffic flow in the terminal and new self-service baggage tagging.

"There's plenty of growth we still have in front of us," Barger said.

Copyright 2014 - Boston Herald

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