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JetBlue adding three Buffalo to Boston flights The airline will begin direct, non-stop service to Boston's Logan International Airport on June 30

Beantown-bound Buffalo travelers will have a new way to get to Boston starting this summer when JetBlue Airways begins offering three daily non-stop flights.

JetBlue spokesman Brandon Hamm confirmed late Thursday the low-cost airline will start direct service to Boston's Logan International Airport on June 30.

This marks the first time Buffalo passengers have been able to fly to any other JetBlue destination than New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on the airline.

Via the direct connection to JetBlue's Boston hub, Buffalo travelers will be able to get connecting flights to numerous Western U.S. destinations such as Seattle, Oakland, San Jose, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas.

JetBlue flights out of Boston also service a number of Florida cities and Nassau, Bahamas.

Lawrence M. Meckler, executive director of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority said additional links to Boston have been on his airport wish list.

"If you asked me what cities I'd like to see additional direct service to, Boston would have been on the top of the list, Meckler said. "We're absolutely delighted about JetBlue's decision to offer these flights. These are going to be very popular flights."

Hamm said the airline is rolling out Boston service in response to customer demand.

"We have heard from a lot of customers that this is a route they'd like to see. We know there are a lot of people who regularly travel between those two cities, Hamm said.

Currently, US Airways is the only airline offering non-stop service to Boston. The airline offers three daily flights on weekdays, with one flight on Saturday and two on Sunday. US Airways prices those round-trip tickets at $217.10 if purchased in advance. The walk-up fare tops $600.

JetBlue plans to price its direct flights at between $64 and $139 for one-way segments whenever they are purchased.

"I think we'll see some kind of price competition when JetBlue starts these flights. We saw it several years ago when Shuttle America came in," Mecker said.

No-frills flyer Shuttle America flew as many as six flights a day from Buffalo to Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass., in the late 1990s and at least temporarily forced US Airways and others to trim the Buffalo-Boston ticket prices.

JetBlue will use its new fleet of 100-seat Embraer 190s to service the new Buffalo-Boston connection. Those 2,100 available seats per week will nearly triple the 900 currently available on US Airways' 50-seat regional jet flights.

According to the NFTA's most recent full-year passenger data, as of March 2004, Boston was the 14th most popular destination, with 64,310 Buffalo passengers heading to Logan International.

"I think there's a lot of pent up demand and I would predict Boston will easily climb into the Top 10, maybe even Top 5 in the first full year of this additional service," Meckler said.

This marks the third major service announcement for the Buffalo airport so far in 2006. Earlier this month, Delta Air Lines announced it will initiate travel between Buffalo and JFK with four new flights starting June 8. Meanwhile, JetBlue added an eighth daily Buffalo-JFK flight this month.

In February, Southwest Airlines announced a third non-stop flight between Buffalo and Chicago.

"It just keeps getting better and better. We predicted 2006 would be another great year for Buffalo Niagara International Airport and we're already exceeding that expectation," Meckler said.

In addition to the new Boston flights, JetBlue is also kicking off service between JFK and Boston to Pittsburgh, as well as flights between JFK and Jacksonville, Fla.

e-mail: slinstedt@buffnews.com

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