How JetBlue Is Challenging American, United and DeltaJune 7, 2021
In just two decades, JetBlue Airways became a major mainstream player in the U.S. airline industry. But in 2018, its shares plummeted. To keep up in the big leagues, JetBlue is aggressively trying to raise revenue and keep a lid on costs.
JetBlue Airways is looking more like its bigger competitors these days.
Plans for the New York-based airline were unveiled in February 1999. JetBlue took its first flight in the winter of 2000, vowing to “bring humanity back to air travel.” Now entering its third decade, it is adopting measures used by some more established airlines to drum up revenue and please skeptical investors as its stock price struggles. Increasing baggage fees? Check. Plans for a no-frills coach service? Check. Chasing those lucrative business travelers? Check. Slimming down corporate-office ranks? Check.
JetBlue’s challenge is holding onto its quirky culture and succeeding at airlines’ tough balancing act: keeping investors and passengers happy.
“We’re exiting that awkward teenage stage and becoming adults,” said Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s president and COO.
Despite updates like new planes and cabins, JetBlue wants to hold onto its customer-focused approach that won it a loyal following.
“Customers expect good service, and when they don’t get it, they’re vocal about it,” said Geraghty.
Armed with a fleet of brand-new Airbus jets, each outfitted with leather seats and individual screens offering satellite television, JetBlue was the brainchild of serial airline entrepreneur David Neeleman. He’splanning to launch a new U.S. airline.
JetBlue took its first flight on Feb. 11, 2000, from New York’s John F. Kennedy International. The carrier’s bet on JFK was a gamble on whether travelers would trek out to an airport more known for international service than for short- and medium-haul flights.
“The joke was you could bowl down the runway,” said Mark Ahasic, who joined JetBlue a month after its first flight and stayed on for more than six years helping to plan flights and run operations.
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How JetBlue Is Challenging American, United and Delta