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JetBlue gets new Sunport contract

JetBlue apparently will be serving Albuquerque for at least another year.

The carrier, which began service from Albuquerque to New York’s JFK airport in 2013, is seeking a new lease at the Sunport.

According to the proposed agreement, the airline would pay the city about $1.4 million per year in lease payments and fees over the life of the lease, which would run from April of this year through June 2016.

The Sunport cut an aggressive deal to land JetBlue, at the time the airport’s first new major carrier in six years, after several years of declining passenger traffic. As part of a two-year arrangement, the Sunport waived JetBlue’s landing fees and discounted baggage claim, ticket-counter usage and other fees by 75 percent.

The new agreement does not include those incentives.

Sunport officials have said incentive programs are common in the industry. Airports offer perks or discounts to get a new carrier to try the market, hoping it leads to a long-term relationship. Since the Sunport generates its own nearly $70 million annual operating budget, city general fund dollars were not used.

JetBlue has reported good business on its red-eye, once-a-day nonstop to JFK, carrying 79,381 Albuquerque passengers since beginning operations here.

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