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Vancouver International Airport (YVR) welcomed JetBlue’s inaugural flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) on June 9.
The nonstop flight from New York City marked the airline’s entrance to the Canadian market, and makes Vancouver the first city in the country to serve the U.S. carrier. JetBlue is also currently the only carrier to offer nonstop service to Vancouver from JFK.
The aircraft operated for the inaugural flight was an Airbus A320. JetBlue said it will operate daily nonstop flights from JFK to YVR with the A320, which has a seat capacity for 162 passengers.
“JetBlue’s new direct service to JFK means easier access from an important east coast market and is another significant step for Vancouver towards rebuilding our visitor economy,” said Royce Chwin, president and CEO of Destination Vancouver.
According to YVR, JetBlue’s new service will generate approximately $7.5 million in combined Gross Domestic Product; $5.1 million in tourism spending; and an additional 100 jobs at YVR and across B.C.’s hotel, restaurants, and tourist attractions.
JetBlue’s service to YVR is part of the carrier’s broader growth plan. Vancouver is one of more than half a dozen new cities recently added to JetBlue’s route map, and the airline is continuing to grow beyond the U.S. with over 30 international destinations in more than two dozen countries.
“Strengthening JetBlue’s Northeast Alliance (NEA), Vancouver service brings JetBlue to its first destination in Canada, while diversifying its New York focus city strategy,” the carrier said in a press release.
While JFK is among the busiest airports in North America, JetBlue is positioning itself to target both business and leisure travelers to New York, and is also enticing them with connecting flights.
The airline is also looking to add a seasonal route between YVR and Boston’s Logan International Airport — with the same strategy of targeting business and leisure travelers.
JetBlue’s entry into the Canadian market is notable; U.S.-based low-cost carriers typically avoid Canada since they’re already able to entice Canadian passengers to drive across the border to catch flights from U.S. airports. Southwest Airlines Co., Spirit Airlines Inc., and Allegiant Air are among the U.S. carriers that have had success with this strategy.
Not to mention, taxes, fees, and cost inputs are higher in Canada, too.
Nonetheless, JetBlue has said it is confident that Vancouver is ideal for year-round, non-stop service to JFK.
“We look forward to introducing our outstanding service at competitive fares to Canadian customers,” said Andrea Lusso, vice president of Network Planning, JetBlue.