BOSTON (CBS) – Red Sox Spring Training began a couple of weeks early at Logan Airport as JetBlue rolled out an Airbus 320 jet painted with the team logo and a banner for the 100 year anniversary of Fenway Park. Wally the Green Monster followed two Massport fire trucks to the airport gate area.
Mayor Tom Menino, Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, Sox new manager Bobby Valentine, acting Massport CEO David Mackey and a couple of hundred JetBlue team members joined in the celebration.
The plane left with almost a full load of passengers in the late morning for Fort Myers, the home of the new JetBlue Park where the Red Sox Spring Training facility is located.
Marty St. George, senior vice president of JetBlue, noted that this was the third year of an expanding relationship between the airline and the Red Sox. The carrier is also the official airline of The Boston Marathon.
“It’s a great partnership,” said Mayor Tom Menino. “They do so much for the city.”
Security was very tight for the media and VIP’s who were on the tarmac to see the plane arrive. Mayor Menino’s vehicle had been escorted to Terminal C by the State Police. Apparently people in the mayor’s SUV, complete with tinted glass, were not checked in at the North Gate. When the Mayor’s photographer got out to take some pictures, she was briefly asked to leave because she was not displaying a pass.
Again, Wally The Green Monster was one of the most popular people at the ceremony posing in front of the aircraft for the TV cameras.
JetBlue came to Boston in 2004 and in eight years has become the number one airline carrying passengers from Logan. The airport had a record year in 2011 with 28,800,000 passengers using the airport. JetBlue now carries about 25 percent of that business.
Marty St. George termed the airline’s relationship with The Red Sox as one of the most important for the airline and urged the baseball team to bring another championship back to Boston.
JetBlue Park, Fenway South, will be officially dedicated on February 25 in Fort Myers.
Bob Weiss’s All Things Travel Reports can be heard on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.