NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Nashville International Airport announced Jet Blue will return to the Nashville market beginning next year.
Airport officials said Tuesday the airline will offer twice daily nonstop service to Boston and daily nonstop service to Fort Lauderdale in the spring of 2016.
A team of three Jet Blue employees came to Nashville for a visit last Monday. They had a list of possible airport expansions, Nashville was at the bottom of that list.
"And by the time they left, we were at the top of their list," said Shannon Sumrall with the Metro Nashville Airport Authority.
During their visit members of the Jet Blue team were shown how Nashville could handle another airline.
"Jet Blue needs to know that can fill seats here, day in, and day out. It can't be just those one-time visitors that are going to Boston, here and there. They need to know that can make money, that's what they saw here, this is a viable market," Sumrall explained.
The Nashville Air Service Coalition led the tour of Nashville. That is a group of community leaders who have the job or recruiting new routes, and airlines, to BNA. The airport currently has eight empty gates on its concourses.
The coalition brought in Jet Blue's employees on the busiest day of the year at the airport.
"They came in as CMA Fest and Bonnaroo were going out, so they saw a lot of activity at the airport," said Tommy Lewis, co-chair of the Coalition.
The team was shown around Nashville, and near-by counties. The coalition even took them to the famous Bluebird Cafe. All the hard work obviously paid off.
"They were in last Monday, and here we are eight days later with an announcement. So that's just what an impression Nashville made on Jet Blue," Lewis said.
Lewis said landing two daily non-stop flights to Boston will benefit the Nashville business community.
"Historically it's been difficult to get in, and out, of Boston at convenient times. So adding additional, direct non-stop flights to Boston is big," according to Lewis.
Nashville International Airport, which served a record 11 million passengers in 2014, currently offers 390 daily arriving and departing flights with nonstop service to more than 50 destinations.
Jet Blue previously offered flights from Nashville to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport from 2006 to 2008.