SJ Airport to cutback East Coast service

August 20, 2008 12:12:14 PM PDT
San Jose officials promise they'll do all they can to keep airlines flying in and out of the South Bay's main airport. This comes after three carriers announced they're dropping their non-stop flights from San Jose to the East Coast.

Airport officials say they are going to really have to start pinching pennies. They are going to have selective hiring freezes and defer some of the capital improvement projects - just to survive while all the airlines are cutting back.

"I think it's ridiculous especially since this whole construction on this airport is happening. This is going to be a huge airport and there is only going to be one nonstop flight to the East Coast - that's ridiculous," said Teresa Huntley, traveler.

Travelers at San Jose Airport were not pleased to find out that United, Continental and jetBlue will eliminate most of their non-stop flights to the East Coast beginning next month; jetBlue will just keep one direct flight to New York.

"I live in New Orleans, where they have done the same thing since Katrina, and it makes it really difficult to travel. I travel for business, three times or four times a month. Today I'll have to travel to 6:00 this evening to get home," said Kevin Murphy, traveler.

The airlines are cutting back at the same time the airport is expanding. But airport officials say they will continue construction on a billion dollar improvement project despite the loss of revenue.

"We're looking at a drop of passengers of about 10-percent compared to what we originally thought. That translates into a loss of revenue for the airport - so we'll have to tighten our belt for our daily operations," said David Vossbrink, Comm. Dir., Mineta S.J. Int'l Airport.

The fear of more airline cutbacks also has San Jose city leaders taking action. On Tuesday night they agreed to lower terminal fees and other charges by $2.2 million. Airport officials say they are doing all they can to keep airlines happy at a time when they are struggling.

There was another blow to travelers on Wednesday - United announced that it will no longer serve pretzels or cookies to those flying in economy class.


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