JetBlue Launches 100-Day Push for Puerto Rico Disaster Relief

JetBlue, disaster relief, Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico, infrastructure, Leon Kaye
Relief supplies being unloaded on a JetBlue relief flight, the first aircraft to land in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Maria.

The transportation sector, in addition to several other industries, has stepped up in the wake of the devastation Hurricane Maria left across Puerto Rico. Carnival and Royal Caribbean, for example, have lent ships to the relief effort. And now JetBlue has boosted its relief and recovery operations for Puerto Rico with an extended three-month push to help the U.S. territory rebuild.

Dubbed “100x35JetBlue,” the program references the island’s size, 35 various programs the airline says it will launch, and discounted fares that aim to help the island rebuild.

First, JetBlue has set pricing for non-stop flights from the U.S. mainland to and from Puerto Rico at $135. In addition, the airline says it will waive fees for up to two checked bags on these itineraries, and fees for traveling with pets will be temporarily suspended as well. With transportation and communications infrastructure badly damaged in Puerto Rico, the airline asks customers to bring supplies to the island and deliver them personally. And as San Juan’s airport is among the many transportation hubs badly damaged, the facility reportedly has little storage space now – which according to the airline, makes requests to simply deliver packages of supplies a challenge for the airline and its vendors.

The reduced fare program, designed to help Puerto Ricans rebuild the island, is just the start of JetBlue’s relief program, which combines raising cash along with providing boots on the ground. The airline has partnered with the NGO Global Giving to raise $1 million, asking customers and the public to donate funds – and says it will match those contributions dollar-for-dollar for up to $500,000.

JetBlue, which claims it is the largest airline operating in Puerto Rico, also insists it will participate in rebuilding programs that will extend long after this 100-day push. While this announcement was made only recently and more specifics about the airline’s work is still pending, JetBlue says it will support efforts to replenish the island’s vegetation, help rebuild airport facilities and assist community efforts. The delivery of meals to communities in need, launch of school and children’s programs and providing of holiday meals and gifts as Christmas time approaches are also on the airline’s to-do list.

Finally, JetBlue says it will also roll out long term plans to help the island’s economy recover. The donation of advertising space to promote tourism in Puerto Rico, along with education grants through the company’s philanthropic foundation wrap up the airline’s relief program. “We know 100 days is just the start, but we hope it’s a start that will make a meaningful difference,” said JetBlue’s CEO Robin Hayes in a public statement.

Image credit: JetBlue/Business Wire




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Based in Fresno, California, Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010. He has lived across the U.S., as well as in South Korea, Abu Dhabi and Uruguay. Some of Leon's work can also be found in The Guardian, Sustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. You can follow him on Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost).

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