JetBlue’s new nonstop service to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, which begins on December 18, 2020, marks the first-ever direct service from Richmond to the West Coast. While we are delighted about this news, we need you and your business to make every effort to purchase tickets on JetBlue when traveling to these cities or to connect to other destinations in the West. This is an absolute “use it or lose it” proposition, and we need to join together to seize the economic and lifestyle benefits this service will bring to Central Virginia. In case you missed the original announcement, here is the link to the article that appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch in September.
The foundation for winning this service with JetBlue is the result of a decades-long effort by the Capital Region Airport Commission, Richmond International Airport (RIC) staff, local jurisdictions, and the business community to support air service competition. Many of you will remember the airport’s success in 2005 attracting AirTran (later acquired by Southwest Airlines), then JetBlue in 2006. The arrival of low-cost carriers lowered average ticket prices at Richmond from the third highest in the nation to the median average of prices for all airports.
You also may recall that the lack of support for JetBlue after its initial launch of service to New York resulted in the airline cancelling that route and an almost overnight tripling of ticket prices to the Big Apple. With the threat of losing both JetBlue and AirTran altogether in 2010, however, business rallied to support the airlines thanks to the leadership of ChamberRVA’s Save Low Fares campaign. The increased ticket purchases by business travelers saved JetBlue and AirTran in Richmond a decade ago, and we need the same commitment by business now to ensuring the success of JetBlue to Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
This is an historic opportunity for Richmond, and as business and leisure travel slowly recover from the impact of the pandemic, here is what you and your business need to do:
- Immediately confirm that your company’s travel policies include JetBlue as a preferred competitive consideration to the West Coast and Las Vegas.
- Encourage your vendors, contractors, and consultants to fly JetBlue between Richmond and Los Angeles and Richmond and Las Vegas.
- Request and review a monthly report of air travel by carrier from your purchasing department or travel management company.
Finally, this is a great day for air travelers in Central Virginia, and I look forward to talking with you to identify ways we can work together to ensure that RIC enables the air service that our wonderful community deserves.
With high regards,