US carrier JetBlue Airways has revealed it will launch flights to Florida's Daytona Beach International Airport from New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport, although it will be almost a year before the new link is introduced. The daily flight is scheduled to commence from February 2016 and will add an eighth destination in the Sunshine State of Florida to JetBlue’s network.
The new route represents a significant fillip for the small airport in Volusia County enhancing its domestic connectivity and will bring the return of regular links to the New York area after a seven-year absence.
The Daytona Beach – New York market was previously served for an 18 year period by Continental Airlines via a daily link to its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport, but it suspended the route in 2008 due to the economic recession.
“Attracting JetBlue Airways to Volusia County has been a long-term community effort. This is the result of the community's support that County Council has received to recruit JetBlue as an important new business partner at Daytona Beach International Airport.”
Volusia County Manager
“Attracting JetBlue Airways to Volusia County has been a long-term community effort. This is the result of the community's support that County Council has received to recruit JetBlue as an important new business partner at Daytona Beach International Airport.”Jim Dinneen
The New York City region has been the best market opportunity for non-stop airline service from Daytona Beach International Airport for a number of years with Continental carrying in excess of 75,000 annual passengers in its last five years of serving the market.
“This is great news for this community and our airport,” said Jim Dinneen, Volusia County Manager. “Attracting JetBlue Airways to Volusia County has been a long-term community effort. This is the result of the community's support that County Council has received to recruit JetBlue as an important new business partner at Daytona Beach International Airport.”
The local recruiting effort for the resumption of a New York link has been years in the making and has included dozens of face-to-face visits between airline officials, airport staff and local business leaders.
Expanded community efforts to attract JetBlue went into high gear in 2012. This included pledges by 30 local businesses into a travel bank managed by the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce that guarantees $250,000 in pre-paid airline tickets for the first year of service.
Other incentives include $400,000 in advertising with these costs shared between the airport, the Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority, and the West Volusia Advertising Authority. Top local leaders throughout Volusia and Flagler counties have offered a groundswell of local support and individual efforts to convince the airline of the area market’s viability for nonstop New York City service.
The new service to Daytona Beach will create a direct link between JetBlue's main base of operations in New York and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world's largest, fully accredited university specialising in aviation and aerospace. In 2007, JetBlue partnered with Embry-Riddle to launch the University Gateway Program, a unique opportunity that creates a path to a career with the airline for aspiring aviators.
"We couldn't be more excited to launch yet another route that shows our deep commitment to Central Florida," said Scott Laurence, JetBlue's Senior Vice President of Airline Planning. "We also have a long-standing relationship with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and are pleased to give the academic community there a new option for travel."
JetBlue's flights to Daytona Beach will be operated on a 150-seat Airbus A320 - the largest aircraft to serve the airport on a regular basis. The schedule is due to be announced later this year when reservations will open.
“JetBlue is the quality standard of low-fare airlines and continues to receive great reviews from its loyal passenger base,” said Rick Karl, airport director, Daytona Beach International Airport. “The airline has an enviable model of low fares, great service and high reliability, which will be a tremendous addition to the excellent airline service already available at Daytona Beach International Airport. We believe this airline will be very successful in our market.”
Daytona Beach International Airport reported a four per cent rise in passenger traffic in 2014 to 629,843 passengers, the highest level of annual passenger traffic since 2007. This was thanks to a growth in capacity from its two current airline partners, Delta Air Lines, which provides a hub link to Atlanta, and US Airways which links the facility to Charlotte.
Our analysis of O&D passenger flows from/to Daytona Beach shows that the Newark market was responsible for over ten per cent of total passenger flow when Continental Airlines served the market. According to MIDT data between 28,000 and 31,000 bi-directional passengers have flown between the Florida destination and greater New York area in each of the past five years.
This makes New York the largest unserved market from Daytona Beach, behind only Atlanta, which is flown by Delta Air Lines. Other unserved markets with notable flows from/to Daytona Beach include Chicago O’Hare, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County, Bradley International, Philadelphia International, Indianapolis International and Pittsburgh International.
In the chart, below, we highlight estimated annual O&D passenger flows from/to Daytona International Airport over the past ten years. The data shows what a significant impact the loss of air services had on the airport in the late 2000s, but the recovery which has been made over the past three years. Alongside the Newark route closure, regular flights also ceased to Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Orlando and Washington, among others.