|Moving to Orlando, Fla., would have meant a brand adjustment for JetBlue. (Associated Press/File)|
NEW YORK — The two-city airline tug of war over JetBlue Airways is over.
JetBlue is keeping its corporate headquarters in New York City after considering a possible move to Orlando, Fla.
The company said yesterday it will move about 1,000 staffers from two area offices to a new location in Long Island City, in the New York City borough of Queens. The carrier’s main office is currently in neighboring Forest Hills. It also has a small finance department in Darien, Conn.
The airline mulled a move out of New York for more than a year. It originally considered four other cities and recently narrowed the alternatives to Orlando, the site of its training facility.
Moving to Orlando would have meant a brand adjustment for the carrier, which calls itself “New York’s Hometown Airline.’’ JetBlue’s first flight took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport on Feb. 11, 2000. It is now the biggest carrier at JFK and the seventh-largest in the country. It is the only airline based in New York.
To help persuade JetBlue to stay put, New York City offered to invest up to $3 million in the airline’s Terminal 5 at Kennedy Airport and offered a $7 million tax exemption. The airline in turn said it will create up to 200 new jobs in the city over the next five years.
JetBlue and New York State have also agreed to a joint branding deal for the iconic “I Love NY’’ logo.
In a news conference at City Hall, JetBlue chief Dave Barger said the cost of moving employees from New York to Orlando was a major factor in the decision to stay. The airline also did not want to take the risk that some would choose to leave the company rather than move.