PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - JetBlue Airways is expected to make the long-awaited announcement Wednesday that it's expanding service to T.F. Green Airport, but eager passengers can get a preview now.
A review of JetBlue's website by WPRI.com Tuesday evening showed the airline is already listing routes from Warwick to Austin, Texas; Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Fla.; and three cities in Puerto Rico: Aguadilla, Ponce and San Juan.
Rhode Island officials, led by Governor Chafee and Jim Bennett, Providence's economic-development chief, have embarked on a full-court press in recent months to attract JetBlue to T.F. Green, highlighted by a January reception for its executives with a host of state leaders.
After that visit, JetBlue President and CEO Dave Barger, a prolific Twitter user, wrote about his enthusiasm for Rhode Island. Asked in April how soon the airline would expand here, he tweeted: "Soon, real soon, thanks to @LincolnChafee!"
Chafee's office has remained coy about Wednesday's announcement. His public schedule for the day includes an 11 a.m. event at the State House to announce "a long-awaited customer service initiative" at the airport.
It's unclear when JetBlue flights out of T.F. Green will actually start taking off. The company was founded in 2000 and describes itself as "the only major U.S. airline which began operations post-deregulation to survive into a second decade of operation on our own." The company's first-quarter profit jumped as it added flights and sold more tickets.
Passenger traffic has been declining at T.F. Green since 2005. The airport has become heavily reliant on Southwest Airlines, which in May accounted for nearly half the Warwick hub's 317,482 total passengers, according to the quasi-public R.I. Airport Corporation, which runs T.F. Green.
US Airways was a distant second to Southwest with 24% of passengers, followed by Delta Airlines and United Airlines. Air Canada and charters each carried under 800 passengers each.
Ryan Clifton contributed to this report.
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