JetBlue Airways on 29 May disclosed plans to open a crew base in San Juan, Puerto Rico amid a sweeping strategy shift to focus more on the Caribbean. 

The New York based carrier said the base at Luis Munoz Marin International airport is expected to open toward the end of the year, and “underscores the airline’s commitment to growth and investment in the region”. 

By 2025, the base will employ about 125 pilots and 325 flight attendants, boosting its operations from San Juan to destinations in the US, Caribbean and Latin America. 

“We’re so excited to base hundreds more crew members right here in San Juan, where we are proud to be the largest airline with plans to grow even more,” says Warren Christie, JetBlue’s chief operating officer. “The new crew base will support our operation as we grow.” 

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Source: JetBlue Airways

JetBlue is doubling down on its presensce in Puerto Rico with a full-time crew base in San Juan 

JetBlue has stationed aircraft in San Juan for more than a decade and opened a maintenance base there in 2020. It first launched flights to Puerto Rico’s capital city 22 years ago. 

More recently, the carrier has been attempting to chart a new path forward following the collapse of both its Northeast Alliance with American Airlines and its long-planned combination with Spirit Airlines. Both deals were blocked on anti-competitive grounds in the same US federal court. 

JetBlue has since pivoted to the Carribean and Latin America in an effort to target ”core customers and geographies, redeploying capacity from underperforming markets and doubling down on proven leisure and [visiting friends and relatives] markets,” JetBlue president Marty St George said on 23 April.

On 8 May, the carrier signalled it would enter three new Caribbean markets – Bonaire, St Croix and St Vincent – and launch eight new routes to the islands beginning in the fourth quarter. Six of the new eight routes will connect to San Juan. 

Starting in July, the carrier will offer its premium “Mint” product with lie-flat seats on flights between New York’s John F Kennedy International airport and San Juan.

“By this winter, JetBlue will offer nonstop service between Puerto Rico and 18 cities in the US, Latin America and the Caribbean,” the carrier says. 

JetBlue is expected to outline its strategy shift in greater detail in coming months. The company lost $716 million during the first quarter and expects to record a loss for the full year of 2024.