JetBlue Adds N.Y. Thanksgiving Trips While Cuomo Says Stay Away

JetBlue Airways Corp. is adding flights from the New York area during Thanksgiving week in a bid to tap an uptick in demand amid the coronavirus pandemic, just as Governor Andrew Cuomo is beefing up enforcement of quarantine restrictions.

The 25 nonstop flights will operate between Nov. 20 and Nov. 30 from New York’s John F. Kennedy International as well as airports in White Plains, New York, and Newark, New Jersey, JetBlue said in a statement Friday. The extra service is based on “signs of strong demand” in specific markets around the holiday, said Scott Laurence, the airline’s head of revenue and planning.

The temporary Thanksgiving flights build on JetBlue’s strategy of adding 60 new routes this year to take advantage of pockets of demand while overall travel, measured by passengers screened at domestic airports, remains stuck at about 65% below 2019 levels. Travel that has returned amid the pandemic has largely involved leisure passengers, who make up most of JetBlue’s business.

While the company is looking to take advantage of Thanksgiving travel, Cuomo said he would increase enforcement of virus-related restrictions at the state’s airports over the holiday.

“You should not land if you do not have proof of a negative test upon landing,” Cuomo said Friday at a press briefing. “I want people to know we’re serious.”

Travelers from most states have to quarantine for 14 days after getting to New York, although people can test out of those requirements after three days.

JetBlue’s destinations for the added holiday flights include Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa in Florida; Los Angeles and San Francisco; and Haiti, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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