A leaked internal memo revealed that JetBlue, currently headquartered in the Long Island City (LIC) of Queens, New York, is the latest “snowbird” thinking of taking off and moving to Florida.
A March 11 memo to JetBlue’s LIC staffers was leaked to the New York Post and later confirmed by a corporate spokesperson. In it, the discount airline said it was considering several different options ahead of a July 2023 lease expiration on its New York headquarters. One of the options was packing up LIC staff and moving it to the Sunshine State.
The New York Post quoted the memo as saying, “We are exploring a number of paths, including staying in Long Island City, moving to another space in New York City, and/or shifting a to-be-determined number of [headquarter] roles to existing support centers in Florida.
“We now have more leasing options as greater vacancy rates have changed the economics; the role of the office and our space requirements will evolve in a hybrid work environment; and our own financial condition has been impacted by COVID-19,” JetBlue said in the memo.
According to the memo, JetBlue expects to have a final plan in place later this year.
This news caused alarm among New York politicians. Fox News reported Sunday, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urged JetBlue to not cut NYC jobs, saying, “the airline should actually clear the runway to grow here, not recede.”
The Capitolist recently reported that since the end of 2020, JetBlue has added many new Florida routes, including Miami, Key West and Jacksonville.
“This year has pushed us to find new ways of operating our business and we’ve adapted at a pace we’ve never seen before, pivoting our network in response to changing customer demand,” Scott Laurence, JetBlue’s head of revenue and planning, said in a statement to Travel and Leisure. “We’re continuing to play offense to bring in cash revenue and support our business recovery. These network additions help fine-tune our geography in ways that make sense in today’s market.”