Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport must really want JetBlue Airways.
A four-tier cake arrived at the low-cost carrier’s New York headquarters from the Virginia airport decorated with JetBlue aircraft and New York icons, including the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty, a few days ago.
JetBlue says that it has no plans to launch service to Newport News. It announced new service between Charleston, South Carolina, and Boston and New York’s John F. Kennedy airport earlier this month.
Newport News has been scrambling for new service since Southwest Airlines-subsidiary AirTran Airways, the airport’s largest airline, ended service in March after 17 years. AirTran flew to Atlanta, Boston, New York’s LaGuardia airport and Orlando at the time.
Following the announcement, Allegiant launched twice-weekly service between Newport News and Orlando Sanford.
Start-up People Express announced plans to launch service from Newport News with flights initially to Orlando and Pittsburgh on Boeing 737-400 classics earlier this year. However, the launch date has already been pushed to at least early 2013 from mid-2012 due to paperwork and certification delays.
Newport News likely wants to hedge its bets with JetBlue as People Express is far from a sure thing. The LCC could gain a foothold in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, which also includes Norfolk and Virginia Beach, with flights to the airport much like AirTran did when it served the city.
JetBlue’s strategy is its own for now but one thing is clear – it will take more than a (awesome) cake to woo the airline.