JetBlue interested in Boston-Savannah flights

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JetBlue Airways is considering launching service next spring between Boston and Savannah, Georgia, according a recent federal grant request from the Savannah Airport Commission.

The commission has requested $500,000 in federal money to be used to offset JetBlue's start-up and operational costs over two years at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, according to documents filed by the commission with the US Department of Transportation.

JetBlue says in a letter accompanying the grant request that it is considering launching the route sometime in spring 2014 and is also interested in service between Savannah and John F. Kennedy International airport in New York.

"I am confident that the market dynamics of Savannah will fit well with JetBlue's high-quality, low-fare air service and will drive significant increases in travel to Georgia's southeast coast," says JetBlue's 23 July letter, signed by Vice President of Network Planning and Partnerships Scott Laurence.

JetBlue declines to provide additional comment to Flightglobal, but says it is always scouting new destinations.

The grant money is part of a $2.7 million package that also includes $300,000 from the airport, $600,000 from other sources and nearly $1.2 million in non-cash contributions, according to documents.

The commission predicts the money will go toward airport rent, ground handling, crew accommodations and marketing.

The airport commission's acting executive director Greg Kelly could not immediately be reached for additional comment.

The commission seeks the grant through the US Department of Transportation's Small Community Air Service Development program.

In the past, the airport has been serviced by AirTran Airways and now-defunct Independence Air, but currently only American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways have flights to the city, all from major hubs.

In recent years, air traffic at Savannah has stagnated and average roundtrip airfares have climbed to around $500, the airport says.

Boston is Savannah's third most-popular air destination, according to the airport.