JetBlue Adding New Routes

JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU), looking for ways to revive its fortunes after a recent spate of bad news, said Friday it would begin flying two routes where there is limited competition.

JetBlue said it would start flights to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Jacksonville, Florida from its hub at New York's JFK International Airport, starting June 30 and June 15, respectively.

It will also start flying to Pittsburgh and to Buffalo, New York -- already served from New York City -- from Boston.

The routes to Pittsburgh will use the low cost carrier's 100-seat Embraer 190 jets. JetBlue has been trying to prove that adding the Brazilian made-planes as a second fleet type alongside its existing Airbus A320 planes was the right move.

The E-190s, which JetBlue began flying last last year, got off to a rocky start as they were plagued by reliability issues, and the airline pulled back some of its planned expansion using the jets.

JetBlue Chief Executive David Neeleman earlier this week said the airline would seek routes on which there was limited competition as it looks to raise ticket prices. He also said the reliability issues with the E-190s were mostly resolved.

The New York-based airline will charge between $128 and $258 round trip for flights from JFK to Pittsburgh. That compares with existing advance fares of $235 round trip on that route, which is served by bankrupt rival Delta Air Lines Inc.'s .

AMR Corp.'s (AMR) American Airlines, US Airways Group Inc. (LLC) and UAL Corp.'s United Airlines (UAUA)also fly between New York's LaGuardia airport and Pittsburgh for about $223.

JetBlue's service from JFK to Jacksonville follows Delta's recent decision to cancel its service between the two airports due to lack of demand.

JetBlue has struggled to raise ticket prices on other routes between New York and Florida, where it has competed both with Delta and with Continental Airlines Inc. (CAL).

The airline in the fourth quarter posted its first quarterly loss since its April 2002 initial public offering and also forecast a loss for 2006. Its shares have slumped 34 percent so far this year.

JetBlue shares were down 14 cents, or 1.4 percent, at $10.14 in morning trading on Nasdaq, underperforming the Amex Airlines index, which was up 0.1 percent.