August 31, 2017


PBA Honors JetBlue Head for Free Flights To Police Funerals

ROBIN HAYES: Earns his wings with funeral flights.

The president of JetBlue Airways, which flew police officers from around the country without charge to the funeral of Police Officer Randolph Holder, was named Person of the Year by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

The decision to honor Robin Hayes, president and chief executive officer of the airline, was announced Aug. 29. He was scheduled to be the keynote speaker Aug. 31 at the union’s annual convention in Albany.

Not the First Time

His airline flew hundreds of law-enforcement officers at no charge to the funeral of Officer Holder, who was shot and killed confronting a gunman in Harlem in October 2015. His killer was later convicted and sentenced to life without parole.

JetBlue said it was honored to help officers pay tribute to a fallen comrade. The airline extended the same offer for the funerals of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were assassinated in their patrol car in December 2014 by a mentally-ill ex-con. The killer shot himself in a nearby subway station.

In 2016, the airline flew for free the immediate-family members of the 49 people killed and 53 injured at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., by a lone gunman.

Mr. Hayes joined JetBlue in 2008 after 19 years at British Airways, where his positions included executive vice president for the Americas. He became president of the airline in 2014 and CEO a year later.

Past recipients of the PBA Person of the Year Award include U.S. Sen. Charles Schu­mer, former Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, U.S. Rep Peter King, Governor Cuomo and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.