JetBlue Airways is getting back into the cargo business.

The New York-based carrier, largely absent from the freight market since 2015, will soon be carrying cargo in the bellies of passenger aircraft flying from Fort Lauderdale, the airline says.

JetBlue is starting the service with a company called Aeronex Cargo, which will help manage the operation.

By year-end JetBlue intends to expand the cargo service to flights operating from Boston Logan International airport, Los Angeles International airport and New York John F Kennedy International airport, it says.

JetBlue declines to disclose goals for the cargo operation but says it may expand the business to some 30 airports "over the next few years".

In 2015 JetBlue ended its cargo service, saying managing the operation would prove too difficult due to increasing numbers of checked bags and an effort to add seats to aircraft. JetBlue started charging for checked bags that year.

In 2018, however, the airline dipped a toe back into the freight business with a pilot programme that involved carrying cargo between Fort Lauderdale and San Juan.