JetBlue Airways will “absolutely” use the three slot pairs it was awarded at Long Beach airport earlier this month, says vice-president of network planning Dave Clark.

“We absolutely intend to fly the three additional slots,” he says at the Routes Americas forum in San Juan today.

JetBlue plans to announce how it will use the slots – likely a combination of increased frequencies and one new market from Long Beach – soon, says Clark. It is still evaluating how to use them, he adds.

The New York-based carrier has faced questions regarding its application for nine of the available slots at Long Beach, its west coast base, as it already has unused slots in its portfolio.

Responding to those questions, Clark says JetBlue does not want to launch new markets from the airport only to cancel them later when a long-sought international arrivals facility opens.

“We are extremely interested in an international arrivals facility,” he says, a desire repeatedly expressed by JetBlue executives over the past few years.

The Long Beach city council formally began the process of adding such a facility at the airport in July 2015 when it approved a study.

Clark emphasises that international growth is critical to JetBlue from the southern California airport.

Delta Air Lines received two of the six remaining slot pairs and Southwest Airlines four at Long Beach, the city announced earlier in February. Delta is expected to use them to upgauge their existing Salt Lake City service to larger aircraft while Southwest has yet to comment on where they plan to fly from the airport.

Source: Cirium Dashboard