JetBlue adds 3 new destinations to Steamboat’s winter flight schedule | SteamboatToday.com

JetBlue adds 3 new destinations to Steamboat’s winter flight schedule

JetBlue has announced it will fly passengers to Yampa Valley Regional Airport west of Steamboat Springs from Boston, Fort Lauderdale and Long Beach, California on 150-passenger A320 aircraft in ski season 2018-2019.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Ski Resort announced Wednesday, April 25  it will add three new direct flights in ski season 2018-19, all on JetBlue, from three corners of the United States.

For the first time, it will offer direct flight's from the biggest airport in New England ski country with twice weekly flights from Boston Logan International, plus a weekly flight from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and another twice-weekly flight from Long Beach Airport.

All three flights will operate Dec. 15 through March 30 on 150-passenger A320 aircraft.  Flights have been loaded into computer reservation sites and are available for booking. The Boston and Long Beach flights will operate Saturdays and Wednesdays. The Fort Lauderdale flight will operate on Saturdays only.

JetBlue Vice President of Network Planning John Checketts told Steamboat Pilot & Today that the courtship between his airline and Steamboat has been a relatively lengthy one.

"I think it's been a bit of a timing issue," Checketts said.  "We've been talking for several years now and had a very high level of interest, but just didn't put it over the top."

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Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. President and COO Rob Perlman pointed out the addition of Long Beach on JetBlue gives skiers in Southern California the option of three cities of origin and three different airlines to get to Steamboat. United Airlines flew daily roundtrips to Steamboat from Los Angels International in 2017-18 and Alaska Airlines flew three weekly roundtrips from San Diego, California.

Long Beach is closer than Los Angeles International for travelers from Orange County.

Asked if the addition of Long Beach to the L.A. market is expected to benefit travelers with lower fares,  Perlman replied, "That's part of it. With three carriers serving three markets, they're going to have options, and with options come competitive pressure. Hopefully we see attractive and affordable fares."

Yampa Valley Regional Airport Director Kevin Booth said pre-existing plans to build a seventh aircraft parking pad at the airport this summer, while not specifically for JetBlue, will make it easier to accommodate the additional traffic this winter at the airport operated by Rout County.

The announcement of Steamboat's new contracts with JetBlue came one day after the airline's CEO Robin Hayes hosted an earning call with stock analysts, in which some questions arose about JetBlue's relationship with the Long Beach Airport.

The airline, which is considered a point-to-point carrier, flies into LAX as well as Long Beach. 

USA Today reported Tuesday, April 24 that recently JetBlue has been contesting $1.2 million in fines imposed by the Long Beach Airport related to "curfew violations in 2017."  The airline is making the case that it is being held responsible for air traffic control issues that it cannot control.

Asked by USA Today about his airline's future at Long Beach, Hayes gave an ambiguous response. However,  Checketts told Steamboat Pilot & Today this week that JetBlue has no intention of abandoning Long Beach.

"The uncertainty around Long Beach is not a signal of the end of Long Beach for JetBlue. We are adjusting capacity and shifting the mix into much more profitable flying like Steamboat," he said.

Asked if any flights from the 2017-18 flight schedule have been dropped from the 2018-19 lineup, Perlman said, "Not at this point. We're continuing discussions looking forward."

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.