JetBlue considers growing at Hudson Valley airport

JetBlue is considering expanding the list of cities it flies to from the Stewart International Airport new Newburgh, N.Y.

David Barger, CEO of the airline, spoke at the Orange County (N.Y.) Partnership's annual investor breakfast last Thursday at the Inn at Central Valley.

"JetBlue's marketing studies have shown that San Juan, Puerto Rico and the West Coast, and Las Vegas are preferred locations for Hudson Valley residents," a news release from the Orange County Partnership said. The private non-profit is focused on regional economic development.

JetBlue spokesman Sebastian White said the airline is considering but not ready to announce the addition of departures from the airport, which is located about 70 miles north of New York City.

"Travelers in the Hudson Valley have paid through the nose for so long for spotty service that we think that long-term, there's still opportunity for JetBlue to expand our low-fare service at Stewart," White said in a written statement. "Our feeling is that if we've got the aircraft and the gates and the opportunity is there, let's strike while the iron is hot."

JetBlue's planes are flying at more than 80% capacity into and out of Stewart, the Partnership's news release said.

White said JetBlue is "constantly evaluating the viability of new routes between existing JetBlue cities — including from Stewart." However, he stopped short of announcing future departure destinations.

"Stewart's seen some flight additions in the past few years, but many of those new routes seem to come and go. We prefer to grow prudently and not take a cut-and-run approach to our route planning," White said.

The Poughkeepsie Journal is owned by Gannett, parent company of USA TODAY.