JetBlue, New York’s Hometown Airline, has a long history of supporting those who serve their communities. Today public servants from New York and abroad joined forces for a good cause. JetBlue and the British Metropolitan Police Department partnered for their eighth annual plane pull at New York’s JFK Airport. “Bobbies” from London’s police department competed against teams including JetBlue crewmembers and members from local authorities including the NYPD and FDNY to raise funds for childhood cancer research.
Proceeds from the annual plane pull benefit The J-A-C-K Foundation and families impacted by pediatric brain cancer, as well as fund research to create international awareness for neuroblastoma. Last year’s event raised $123,000.
All in attendance received a special treat, a first glimpse at JetBlue’s newest special livery — “Blue Finest” — dedicated to New York City’s more than 36,000 officers. Twenty three teams, consisting of nearly 300 participants, participated in timed trials to pull “Blue Finest,” an Airbus 320 aircraft, 100 feet in the fastest amount of time to raise funds for the J-A-C-K Foundation. Participants were among the first to view this aircraft adorned with the NYPD flag, badge and shield.
“Blue Finest” will join JetBlue’s fleet flying throughout the airline’s network, currently 101 cities and growing. The aircraft honoring the NYPD joins JetBlue’s exclusive legion of service-focused aircraft including “Blue Bravest” dedicated to the FDNY, “Vets in Blue” honoring veterans past and present and “Bluemanity” — a tribute to all JetBlue crewmembers who bring the airline’s mission of inspiring humanity to life every day.
“As New York’s Hometown Airline, supporting our local public servants including the NYPD is part of our DNA,” said Joanna Geraghty, executive vice president customer experience, JetBlue. “Our mission of inspiring humanity is brought to life each day through our crewmembers, many of whom are also former public servants. This mission also lives in the work the NYPD does to keep our communities safe.”
The NYPD flag is prominently displayed on the tail of “Blue Finest” and a badge and shield by the front door. The NYPD flag was chosen as it represents all five boroughs of New York City and is a symbol of pride for all who have served. It represents unity. Adopted in 1919, the NYPD flag is proudly flown outside of every precinct in the city, next to the American flag. The NYPD flag features 24 white stars on a field of blue in the left corner. The blue represent the police department while 23 of the stars represent the separate towns and villages that eventually became a part of New York City. The 24th star represents New York City itself.
“I want to thank everyone at JetBlue for honoring the hardworking men and women of the NYPD with this incredible symbol of partnership and professionalism,” said NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “This aircraft, ‘Blue Finest,’ has the perfect name and appearance to represent those who have made it their lives’ work to fight crime and keep people safe. It is an impressive interpretation of NYPD hallmarks and will spread our commitment to public safety far beyond New York City. Safe travels to all who fly aboard her, and I wish the very best of luck to those pulling this plane today in support of JACK’s Pack and childhood cancer research.”
The reveal of “Blue Finest” took place at JetBlue’s Hangar at JFK Airport and was unveiled in front of crewmembers, many of whom previously worked with NYPD and were specifically invited to the event. JetBlue is the only major airline based in New York. As such, the airline is supportive of its hometown police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics. JetBlue estimates up to 15 percent of its Inflight crewmembers and several in its support centers have served in some capacity. This includes former law enforcement officers, first responders and veterans. Many of the skills learned in public service are transferable to JetBlue. Several former service members are enjoying second careers within the airline in positions including airport operations, corporate security, inflight, pilots and more.
The J-A-C-K Foundation was set up by Richard and Yvonne Brown, both officers with the Metropolitan Police Department, to help fund research after their son Jack was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Local officers and public service professionals in the New York metropolitan area felt a connection to the cause and their UK counterparts. Since 2009, law enforcement and first responders in New York City have joined forces with the Metropolitan Police for a day of service and friendly competition to raise funds for The J-A-C-K Foundation. Before Jack’s untimely death, JetBlue provided transportation for him to and from his treatment facilities in the U.S.