WELCOME TO MILWAUKEE JETBLUE!

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Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport would officially become JetBlue Airlines 110th destination when JetBlue 2229 from Boston Logan International Airport touched down on Runway 1 Left at 0834 on March 27th, 2022. The inaugural flight was operated by Airbus A220-300 registered N3077J, serial number 55124 and named “On Wednesday’s we wear blue”, which was manufactured by Airbus SE at their Mobile Alabama plant only 6 months ago. The inaugural flight departed Boston Logan International Airports Gate C-10 at 0656 local time and would park at Gate D-53 at Mitchell International Airport at 0837. Milwaukee had a grand celebration for the passengers departing on this first flight. A celebration that included breakfast, a New York and Milwaukee themed cake, Milwaukee and JetBlue branded giveaways, and a Paul Helm a local Pianist provided background ambiance. JetBlue made the formal announcement back on April 21st, 2021 of its intentions to begin Service to Milwaukee with a start date of 3-27-22 given, that day was now here.

The JetBlue story would begin back in 1998 when the company was incorporated under the name of NewAir by then CEO David Neelman. The JetBlue name would be officially adopted in 1999 with the aim of providing a Southwest Airlines type of approach of offering low-cost travel, but with added amenities such as in-flight entertainment with a T.V. at every seat. The first aircraft an Airbus A320 would be delivered in December of 1999. JetBlue would take flight on February 11th 2000 with flights from New York’s JFK International Airport to Buffalo New York, and Fort Lauderdale Florida with 2 Airbus aircraft. JetBlue would expand rapidly by adding destinations, employees, and aircraft through the years and today is the 6th largest airline in the United States. The JetBlue of today flies over 900 daily flights to 28 countries including Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom from it’s 6 focus cities that include New York’s JFK International Airport and Fort Lauderdale International Airport in Florida. The fleet has grown to a total of 282 aircraft including Airbus manufactured A220, A320, A321’s as well as the Embraer 190. JetBlue has 156 Airbus aircraft on order and will be replacing the Embraer 190’s with brand new next generation Airbus A220-300’s. Three very unique things about JetBlue’s aircraft are the special color schemes, different designs on the tails, along with each aircraft named. JetBlue has several aircraft that are painted in the colors of Professional sports teams, and that honor our Veterans, Fire Fighters, and Police Officers. The tail colors represent different artistic designs and meanings that reflect back to the airline. Each aircraft carriers a blue themed name on the nose. These are some past photos that depict these different designs.

As JetBlue’s Milwaukee Ground Handler, Prime Flight, prepared N3077J for its inaugural flight from Milwaukee to New York’s JFK International Airport as JetBlue Flight 680 the festivities were well under way at Gate D-53. The gate area was decorated with an appropriately themed New York City backdrop for those speaking at today’s event. Three speakers offered remarks prior to the boarding of the flight for an on-time departure of 1050. Mitchell International Airport Director Brian Dranzik stated “JetBlue’s outstanding customer service and in-flight product will be a big hit for Milwaukee travelers. Many people have been asking when JetBlue would get here, I’m glad to say that day has arrived.” Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley added “Milwaukee County is thrilled that JetBlue will bring more tourists and business travelers from New York and Boston to Milwaukee and beyond. We are excited to use the new service!” JetBlue’s Director of Operational Safety and Milwaukee native, Michael Hildebrandt remarked” I am proud and excited to bring JetBlue to my hometown, which will bring access not only to the key cities of New York and Boston, but to other JetBlue cities as well.” As the speakers wrapped up their remarks, the cake was cut and served, and a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the gate prior to boarding.

The inaugural flight was 100% booked with all 140 seats sold, as passengers began the boarding process, the next generation Airbus A220-300 awaited them. JetBlue’s A220-300 aircraft seat 140 passengers in a 2×3 configuration and offers passengers the most legroom and widest coach seats of any single aisle aircraft flying today. JetBlue has 6 rows of the 28 rows with seats that offer even more legroom dubbed “Even More Space” seats. The A220-300’s JetBlue flies also offer extra large overheads bins, larger custom windows, redesigned lavatories, mood lighting, along with fast and free Fly-Fi Broadband Internet and DirecTV at every seat. The A220-300 is powered by a pair of new Pratt and Whitney 1524G geared turbofan engines that each generate up to 24,400#’s of thrust, and are up to 50% quieter and 25% more fuel efficient. All JetBlue passengers will enjoy complimentary name brand snacks and soft drinks as well, regardless of aircraft type. As the Airbus A220-300’s are delivered the Embraer E-190’s will be retired leaving an all Airbus fleet.

As the boarding process continued, each passenger was given an Inaugural Flight Certificate as well as a pair of JetBlue and Mitchell International Airport banded socks. Boarding was completed with the aircraft pushing back from Gate D-53 right on schedule. The temperature was only 28 degrees at departure time so there would be no traditional water cannon salute today, so instead the Prime Flight Ground Handling Crew lined up for a symbolic wave. JetBlue Flight 680 would taxi to Milwaukee’s Runway 1 Left for departure and was airborne a short 6 minutes later, arriving at JFK International Airport’s Gate 24 at 1346.

It is no surprise that JetBlue would decide to add Milwaukee to its expansive list of cities served, with the award Mitchell International Airport received earlier this March. Mitchell International Airport received an Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Best Airport-North America award from Airports Council International, one of only 8 U.S. airports to receive this award. JetBlue currently offers 1 flight a day to both Boston Logan International Airport and New York’s JFK International Airport and sees plenty of opportunity to grow. I would like to thank the Mitchell International Airport Media Team as well as the Public Relations staff at JetBlue Airlines for their time, hospitality, and assistance in making this article possible. Until next time, “Blue Skies to All!”

Scott Jankowski

Scott Jankowski - Franklin, Wisconsin Like so many others my love of aviation started when I was young, very young. I was only three years old when my Parents took me to my first air show here in Milwaukee, the rest you could say is “history”. I would read aviation magazines instead of Comic Books. I would prefer my Dad take me to the airport to watch airplanes instead of throwing a Football around. I grew up watching Convair 580’s, DC9’s and 727’s from the terminal here in Milwaukee, no Stage Three noise compliance back then! I started to seriously take pictures in the Mid 1980’s , for my birthday that year I finally had my first decent camera. I would head down to the airport with my pockets full of Kodak Film and take pictures of anything and everything. It did not matter if it was a Air Wisconsin Dash-7 or a 128TH ARW KC-135E if it had an engine I took a picture of it. I would drop those rolls off to be developed and three days later tear into the envelopes to see the results, which to be honest were not that good but there were a few keepers every once and a while. Fast forwarding to today with much better equipment and skills I spend as much time as I can at both General Mitchell International and Chicago O’Hare which are my Hometown Airports. While times and aircraft have changed the excitement is still as great as it was back all of those years ago. It makes no difference if it is 737, P-51, F-16, or Lear 35 I will not pass on any photo opportunity as you may not get that chance again. Even though my primary focus is on Commercial Aviation I still frequent as many Air shows as I can in the short Summer Season. I am fortunate enough to have EAA Air Venture in my backyard only being only an Hour and Half from my home. I routinely attend Air shows here in Milwaukee, Rockford, Chicago, Ypsilanti and the Quad Cities. I am very fortunate to be part of the Photorecon.Net and PHX Spotters Team and am looking forward to bringing everyone some Air show and Airliner action from the Midwest Region!

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