Domestic fares at Albany are up 27 percent since 2008, and the number of passengers has fallen; many airlines have merged since the days Senator Schumer helped bring Southwest to the region. He believes now is the time to bring a new airline into the Albany mix. "We're hoping that if Jet Blue were to come to Albany, they could add service to already popular routes. Routes like Washington, Orlando, South Florida or Tampa, and in doing so, connecting residents to more travel destinations."
The Democrat says he's successfully lobbied JetBlue to fly to other places and he has opened a campaign to get it to fly to the state capital. He says the first step is to convince JetBlue to establish a presence in Albany, starting with two or three routes. "Once JetBlue sees what a lucrative market Albany is, they'll offer new routes."
Schumer advocated slot divestiture in the recent U.S. Airways - American Airlines merger. JetBlue picked up a dozen of those slots. He believes JetBlue coming to the Capital Region will foster more competition and reduce air fares on flights from Albany, one of the state’s most expensive airports for travelers, to JetBlue destinations. "If we can get this plan off the runway, the number of people coming to Albany will hopefully take off. Whether they're coming for business, to visit family or friends, to the Saratoga Race Course, or to the Adirondacks for recreation. Each way, Albany wins. And what else? JetBlue and travelers win too."
JetBlue currently flies in and out of Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo. The airline's hub is JFK in New York City. Albany International Airport CEO John O' Donnell says the region has a lot to thank Senator Schumer for. "Aside from being a champion that brought new airlines and routes to New York airports, he's been the number one advocate for the protection of air travelers across the nation. To be certain, the greater Capital Region and upstate New York have benfited greatly from Senator Schumer's skill and determination in connecting Albany to the world."
The Albany Business Review says JetBlue has no plans to start serving Albany but will "strongly consider" Schumer's request.