In a choreographed entrance, City Manager Henry Taboada chauffeured Mayor Beverly O'Neill (passenger seat, shadowed) onto the tarmac in a JetBlue company VW. Kristy Ardizzone, JetBlue's West Coast Opportunities Manager looks on. Ms. Ardizzone continues to chair City Hall's appointed Airport Advisory Commission.
Visitors were allowed to tour one of JetBlue's Airbus A320 Aircraft (LB Airport Mgr. Chris Kunze walks across tarmac in foreground). JetBlue says by 2003, 27 of these planes could take off and land every day at LB Airport. City officials and business leaders applauded.
JetBlue CEO David Neeleman (with Mayor Beverly O'Neill, Councilmember Jackie Kell, City Manager Henry Taboada, LB Area Chamber of Commerce Immediate Past Pres. Mike Murray at right) told the crowd:
LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill said:
5th district Councilwoman Jackie Kell told the gathering:
And the people of Long Beach win, because not only are we getting the service we asked for but it is being provided by an airline that started out by making a commitment to be sensitive to our community. They have agreed to a slow schedule of announcing new destinations and allowing neighborhoods to become accustomed to the increased number of flights. And those flights will be some of the world's quietest, most emission friendly passenger jets available...
City Manager Henry Taboada said:
Now I was just a young lad of 15 years when I first flew out of this airport, as a youngster going to Catalina on a scheduled airline, Western Airlines, DC 3 service to Catalina and I've been hooked on flying ever since...It is gratifying for me to be a part of today...
Airport Advisory Commissioners Derek K. Brown and (chair) Kristy Ardizzone look on.
First row guests include (at left) former Vice Mayor/3d district Councilman Doug Drummond, City Auditor Gary Burroughs and (at right) Councilmembers (and Mayoral candidates) Ray Grabinski and Vice Mayor Dan Baker.
LB Airport area business leader (Aeroplex) and former Airport Advisory Commission member Curt Castagna and LB Area Chamber of Commerce Immediate Past President Mike Murray.
JetBlue flies two NYC flights into and out of LB Airport each day. It plans two Washington, D.C. (Dulles) flights a day into and out of LB starting in October.
JetBlue holds 27 of LB's 41 large plane flight slots, reserving them in May after the City Council (without publicly mentioning JetBlue) changed a LB ordinance so carriers could hold slots for up to two years before flying.