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JetBlue Retains Kristy Ardizzone (who chairs City Hall's Airport Advisory Comm'n) As Its West Coast Opportunities Mgr. as a Consultant

JetBlue spokesman explains what she'll do

(July 6, 2001) -- JetBlue, the NY based airline that plans to make LB Airport its west coast hub, has retained Kristy Ardizzone -- recently named chair of City Hall's Airport Advisory Commission -- to serve as JetBlue's "West Coast Opportunities Manager" as a consultant.

Ms. Ardizzone was retained by JetBlue last week (i.e. the week of June 25-29) but will not be "in-house;" instead, she will operate as a consultant, said JetBlue spokesman Gareth Edmonson-Jones in a telephone interview with, detailed below.

In late May (as reported by JetBlue took all of LB Airport's then-available commercial flight slots (27 of 41) less than a week after the City Council (without public mention of JetBlue) amended a city ordinance to let firms hold flight slots for up to two years before using them. JetBlue then announced it plans to make LB Airport its de facto west coast hub.

Kristy Ardizzone at 5-24-01 JetBlue News ConfAt a May 24 LB Airport news conference, JetBlue CEO David Neeleman said Ms. Ardizzone (in photo foreground, right, watching the news conference from the Airport tarmac) helped convince JetBlue that LB "was the place to be."

Concerning Ms. Ardizzone's new position, JetBlue's Edmonson-Jones said:

Kristy was hired last week [June 25-29] as West Coast Opportunities Manager and in that position she will be sort of JetBlue's point person for community affairs, some sort of marketing and corporate communications support, in general sort of our corporate point person for Long Beach.

Obviously, this is the only position like it outside New York -- JFK's our home base, Long Beach is our second base -- so this basically our person on the ground.

I should clarify though that she's not actually "in house." She's been hired in a sort of a vendor, in a business partner capacity. She's still a consultant. So she heads up, I believe she's president of Ardizzone Consulting, and in that capacity we've hired her to be our point person, our West Coast Opportunities Manager. She's a vendor?

JetBlue: She's not actually in-house, but she has a title because obviously it's, you know, it's virtually a full time position, if not full time, actually I think it probably is full time. Just that, but she still actually is a consultant. Why'd you guys hire her?

JetBlue: You guys probably know much better than I do. She's so tapped in. She knows everybody. I mean she's a pilot. Her mother, obviously, is one of the first pilots in Long Beach. The Press-Telegram had it right. She's got jet fuel in her veins. She knows everything about the Airport, knows everybody in the vicinity.

She made it very easy for us in our initial dealings, in fact she was a great introduction for us to everybody. She's helped us talk to the right people the whole time...She was integral to getting us into Long Beach so quickly.

[JetBlue CEO] David [Neeleman] recognized Long Beach as a great opportunity before we met Kristy. Once we met Kristy, it was OK, how do we do this, who do we talk, you know she gave us the route map basically for Long Beach.

...What Kristy's been really helpful with is obviously JetBlue is environmentally conscientious. We fly quiet planes and fuel efficient engines, etc., and obviously that ties in nicely with Long Beach so she knows the lay of the land as to noise abatement... Besides the initial part about being hooked up, what exactly, how did she facilitate all of that? It's not clear just exactly what she did to get you into Long Beach as you were. What did she do?

JetBlue: I don't know that she did much but from introduce us. I mean obviously she's positioned well on boards and she knows everybody but that's basically, I mean we haven't done anything yet of course, it's still early days, we haven't actually started flying in there yet. No, no, but you've got the 27 flight slots and Mr. Neeleman said...I'm parphrasing this...he indicated that she was integral to it.

JetBlue: Sure, absolutely. So what is it that she did back get you where you are now?

JetBlue: Well, there's been a lot of work obviously getting it done, that's all. Just, you know, applying for the slots, they're approved obviously. I mean obviously there's a lot of paperwork to get done. Did she advise you on that?

Jet Blue: Absolutely, absolutely. So she gave you the advice on how to go about getting the flight rules changed?

JetBlue: No, no, 'cause she's not a lawyer. But no, I mean, I don't know that she if ever, a conclusive "voila," you know this is what she did. There's a lot of work getting us started, she's been very helpful getting us started.

[Following brief review, offers wrap up comments] We're sort of known on the west coast, we're very well known on the east coast especially in New York. We recognize we've got a long way to go with Long Beach residents and Los Angeles residents to, you know, become a household name. She's our point person on the ground to help us get there.

So she'll be supporting community outreach, promotions work, you know marketing, corporate communications. So far, her job has been very much sort of introductions and, you know, giving us really a good situation analysis of, you know, what's important to Long Beach residents and helping us do our homework so that we can be the best airline there...

There's a lot of work going into opening a second hub, of course, so she's been a great role to bring us to up speed, I guess, quickly on Long Beach. And as we go into the next phase of actually launching the service, you know, she'll help us with getting our name out there, getting recognition, and just sort of being a pulse for issues management.
... Is there anything I forgot to ask you that I should have asked or anything you want to add?

JetBlue: I suppose just the, obviously Long Beach has been marked by a lot of failures...There have been a lot of instances where carriers have come and gone out of Long Beach. What we're doing is our best homework to make sure that we're the airline that Long Beach residents need, want and fly and Kristy is helping us with that.

Kristy's sort of our Long Beach experience person. And obviously, probably I've touched on it lightly, but certainly the issues management like the noise issues are crucial. Fortunately for us, we've got a great case study with some of the quietest planes going, but that's really important for Long Beach residents.

So we want to make sure people realize how quiet the planes are.

[ note: At its May Airport news conference, JetBlue displayed, and at our request subsequently provided in digital form, color maps comparing noise contours of JetBlue's quieter Airbus aircraft with other aircraft. We have posted these for continuing reference in pdf form at: JetBlue comparison noise contours.]

The Press-Telegram piece was fascinating about a month ago, the editorial page said OK, what do you think about JetBlue coming to town? And that was brilliant for us, because like it was 90% extremely positive and there was 10% of people that said you know, "Oh, more noisey planes like we need that like a hole in the head." It's like, OK, great, we know that's an issue. Or people said, "Ah, they'll never make a go of it because no one ever has before." OK, that's good to know...It's market research that we need to do in a hurry so that when we do launch August 29, we're the best carrier we can be for the area.

News of Ms. Ardizzone's June retention by JetBlue follows a May LB Airport news conference ( coverage with transcript, to view click here) at which JetBlue CEO David Neeleman publicly thanked Ms. Ardizzone in connection with JetBlue's arrival in LB:

"[A]s we looked around and we saw where we wanted to go, we met some really interesting people and, you know, from our experience here, Kristy Ardizzone who's over there, convinced us -- Kristy, [let's] give her a big hand [applause] -- that really that Long Beach is the place to be."

During the news conference (attended by an array of LB officialdom, business interests, Mayor O'Neill and Councilmembers Kell, Colonna, Shultz and Bonnie Lowenthal), Mr. Neeleman pledged an environmentally and neighborhood friendly operation but said a "NIMBY phenomenon" threatened growth:

"We have this phenomenon going on in America where, you know, the NIMBY phenomenon, where nobody really wants growth, and it has a lot to do with power plants and everything, and it takes a rare combination of a company that is environmentally friendly and visionary politicians that see that look, there is a different way. And if people are just against growth for growth's sake, I think that's very deterimental."

Mr. Neeleman's comment went publicly unanswered.

LB City Hall's Airport Advisory Commission

The City Council has created an "Airport Advisory Commission" which operates as specified in the Council-passed Municipal Code section below:

A. Generally to consult with and advise the city council in formulating city policies regarding the development and operation of the Long Beach Municipal Airport;

B. To study and analyze, for the purpose of evaluation and recommendation of policy, problems which have been referred to it by the city council, including, but not limited to: (1) a review of the master plan for the municipal airport and possible revision of modification thereof; and (2) a review of and the preparation of recommendations with respect to, fees, rental schedules and standards of service of the municipal airport. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as investing the commission, or any member thereof, with supervisory powers over the actions or duties of city employees. Neither the commission nor any member thereof shall be concerned with day-to-day airport operations, construction, maintenance or repair activities, or other routine matters at the airport.

Ms. Ardizzone is a licensed pilot and heads "Ardizzone Consulting," based near LB Airport. The City Council voted to approve Mayor O'Neill's naming of Ms. Ardizzone to the Airport Advisory Commission.

In 2000, her fellow Commissioners named her Vice Chair. On May 17, 2001 -- two days after the City Council voted to change LB's flight slot allocation law but before public disclosure it would effectively accommodate JetBlue -- Commissioners named her their new chair.

A week later, on May 24, JetBlue held its LB Airport news conference, publicly mentioning Ms. Ardizzone in connection with JetBlue's arrival.

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