JetBlue Airways which for about a year now has seemed destined to relocate its corporate headquarters to either the Orlando or Fort Lauderdale has now confirmed it will stay in New York after what the airline termed a ” “an in-depth review and competitive bid process.” The airline will also reboot its efforts to build a new JFK Terminal 6 and connect it to JetBlue’s current home in Terminal 5, creating one large hub operation for JetBlue.
Sources tell me New York Senator Chuck Schumer played a very large role behind-the-scenes in bringing JetBlue, the Port Authority and State of New York together to satisfy the carrier and prevent its move to Florida.
Currently, JetBlue operates a large focus city in Fort Lauderdale which serves as a connecting hub for flights to Latin America and a base in Orlando, which has stagnated in recent years. They also serve Jacksonville, Tampa, Sarasota, Fort Myers, West Palm Beach, Key West and Miami in the Sunshine State.
The decision is a blow for Florida which had been wooing New York-based companies to relocate. The founder of the airline, David Neeleman has publicly stated his admiration for Governor Ron DeSantis, but he no longer has a role at the carrier, and now runs startup Breeze Airways which has made Tampa one of its initial bases.
Ultimately, Florida’s pitch to companies about relocation comes down to taxes. But time and again, we’ve seen Florida’s poor reputation for education, lack of urban parks and cultural options such as good museums in addition to laws being passed on polarizing social issues such as the banning of transgender athletes being a deterrent to white-collar businesses relocating to the state.