By Matthew Arrojas – Reporter, South Florida Business Journal
More than 19 years ago, JetBlue Airways Corp.'s first-ever commercial flight landed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
On Tuesday, JetBlue Travel Products, the airline's newest subsidiary, launched not far from where the company had its South Florida beginnings.
The travel-focused subsidiary of New York-based JetBlue (Nasdaq: JBLU) opened its 22,000-square-foot headquarters at the Design Center of the Americas complex in Dania Beach. Travel Products currently has 70 employees, but there is space to expand to nearly 100 workers, Robert Bilak, head of people at Travel Products, told the Business Journal.
JetBlue Travel Products is a travel-booking arm of the company that secures flights, lodging, travel insurance, cruises and car rentals for travelers. Its main product is the JetBlue Vacations brand.
Since February, the 70-person team had been working in just 4,000 square feet on the third floor of DCOTA, at 1855 Griffin Road. JetBlue Travel Products signed a lease for space on the second floor in October, and staff moved in two weeks ago. Bilak declined to specify the price of construction for the new office.
Shared workplaces and a "boardwalk feel" are present throughout the new headquarters, which was precisely what Bilak was going for when he designed the space, he said.
"I wanted to create an inspirational space," he said. "A space where employees feel a part of the same experience they're providing for guests."
Andres Barry was appointed president of JetBlue Travel Products when it was formed in May 2018. He said Dania Beach became the top choice for its headquarters thanks to its proximity to the Fort Lauderdale airport, the South Florida talent pool and its central location to other travel industries such as cruises.
About half of the employees in Dania Beach are South Florida locals, and the other 50% transferred from other JetBlue offices, Bilak said.
He added that the company left space for more employees because it intends to grow more over the coming months and years.
JetBlue Travel Products is JetBlue's third subsidiary. The airline has just over 100 worldwide destinations.