By Bob Weiss, All Things Travel

BOSTON (CBS) – JetBlue Airways was cheered on by over 400 Boston employees and their families, along with Governor Deval Patrick and other state officials, as they officially opened a new maintenance base at Logan Airport Monday.

Within a year, jetBlue expects to have about 150 workers performing day and overnight work on Airbus A320 and Embraer 190 aircraft.

The noontime event in the newly renovated Hangar 8 was originally constructed for Northeast Airlines, which began service as Boston-Maine Airways in 1933.

The renovation cost $19 million with over $16 million invested by Massport. They will recoup those funds in rent over a period of years.

Next year jetBlue expects to add 25 new flights bringing their total to over a 125 daily departures from Boston.

The airline is expected to announce a new destination that they will serve from Logan on Thursday morning. Their spring schedule calls for new flights to Charleston, South Carolina as well as more service to Pittsburgh; Jacksonville, Florida and San Diego, California.

Along with the Governor, other speakers included: U.S. Congressman Michael Capuano, MassDOT Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey and the new Massport CEO Thomas Glynn and Rob Maruster, COO of jetBlue, Senior Vice President of Operations Jeff Martin and Vice President Technical Operations Dave Ramage.

Hanger 8 will have three bays accommodating jetBlue aircraft. The carrier brought in its A320 aircraft painted with the Red Sox logo for the event and families toured the plane with cameras flashing,

JetBlue is the official airline sponsor of The Red Sox and their spring training facility in Fort Myers, Florida.

In a first for the airport, jetBlue arranged for three food trucks to be on hand to feed the crowd.

“Thank you for investing your future in jetBlue and the Commonwealth,” said Governor Patrick.

Congressman Capuano and other speakers praised jetBlue for bringing maintenance to the United States and praised the pool of skilled workers available in the Boston market.

Bob Weiss, CBS Boston travel contributor

Bob Weiss, CBS Boston travel contributor

In less than a decade, jetBlue has become New England’s largest airline. It now accounts for 25 percent of Logan’s passenger traffic.

It was mentioned only briefly, but the next expansion of the carrier next year will most likely be at the Worcester Airport, also operated by Massport.

Travel Reports by Bob Weiss can be heard on WBZ News Radio 1030


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