JetBlue Airways believes Long Beach in California could grow into a strong international market if it is equipped with US customs facilities.
"We are very excited about Long Beach," says JetBlue chief executive Dave Barger at the Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit in Baltimore today. He adds that if the airport had a US Customers and Border Protection facility, "that could be a really nice market into Mexico, Central America".
Long Beach is one of JetBlue's focus cities and opened a new concourse late last year as part of a modernisation project.
JetBlue holds almost 88% of the available seat kilometres out of Long Beach, Innovata FlightMaps Analytics shows. It operates non-stop to 11 US domestic destinations out of Long Beach.
Growing international flights have been one of JetBlue's key focuses in recent years, especially as it ramps up flights to Latin America and the Caribbean out of Fort Lauderdale.
Barger reiterates today that the airline does not rule out expanding its upcoming transcontinental premium cabin product to these flights, as well as on its flights out of Boston, another key focus city.
"Everytime we have an opportunity to expand in that part of the world, we look at the returns," says Barger, adding that offering a premium product on flights from south Florida to the US west coast could be a possibility as well.
Mint refers to JetBlue's new premium cabin, which it will roll out on its flights from New York John F. Kennedy to Los Angeles and San Francisco from June 2014. JetBlue also flies non-stop between Fort Lauderdale and the two California cities.