No Plane Left Behind: JetBlue Has Evacuated All Aircraft From Florida
In February 2000, a brand new airline celebrated its first-ever flight, between New York's JFK and Fort Lauderdale, Florida (FLL). Since then, that start-up airline has taken off to become one of the major players in the US.
Since that small beginning in 2000, JetBlue has maintained a strong presence in Florida. It has become Fort Lauderdale airport's largest airline, now operating 140 daily flights from there. Of the airline's five crew bases, two are in Florida: Fort Lauderdale itself, and Orlando (MCO). In addition, JetBlue has maintenance hangers in four Florida airports: Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, West Palm Beach (PBI) and Tampa (TPA).
All of this means that at any one time, quite a few of JetBlue's 236 aircraft can be found in Florida. At least until now.
On Saturday evening, a JetBlue employee took to Twitter to note this incredible stat:
A JetBlue spokesperson was able to confirm to us that the airline has indeed evacuated all aircraft from Florida. However, JetBlue is (understandably) unable to say when was the last time it hasn't had an aircraft on the ground in Florida.
That's right: the last of the capped $99 JetBlue flights has departed Florida. Where did all of the planes go? We asked JetBlue just that question on Friday:
For Irma, our operating plan is to stage aircraft and crews at focus cities outside the hurricane path (mostly BOS and NYC) in order to resume service once we receive an all-clear from the area airports and our local crewmembers.
And, current JetBlue flights are giving Hurricane Irma a wide berth, as you can see in the Flightradar24 image below, showing all its airplanes airborne now. The only JetBlue plane near Florida at 8pm US Eastern time is an Airbus A320, on its way from Cancun (CUN) to New York's JFK:
Once the storm passes, hopefully the damage will be light enough for JetBlue to resume its normal Florida operations quickly.