JetBlue Airways is a major American low cost airline, and the seventh largest airline in North America by passengers carried. JetBlue Airways is headquartered in the Long Island City neighborhood of the New York City borough of Queens; it also maintains corporate offices in Utah and Florida.
|Founded||August 1998 |
|Commenced operations||February 11, 2000 |
as jetBlue Airways
|Headquarters||Brewster Building, Long Island City, New York, United States|
|Revenue||US$7.658 billion (2018)|
|Operating income||US$288 million (2018)|
|Net income||US$188 million (2018)|
|Total assets||US$10.426 billion (2018)|
|Total equity||US$4.611 billion (2018)|
In 2020, it ranked #394 financially on the Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue. JetBlue operates over 1,000 flights daily and serves 100 domestic and international network destinations in the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America. JetBlue is not a member of any of the three major airline alliances but it has codeshare agreements with 21 airlines, including member airlines of Oneworld, SkyTeam, Star Alliance, and unaffiliated airlines.
JetBlue was incorporated in Delaware in August 1998 with its headquarters in Forest Hills, Queens. David Neeleman founded the company in February 1999, under the name "NewAir". JetBlue started by following Southwest's approach of offering low-cost travel, but sought to distinguish itself by its amenities, such as in-flight entertainment, TV at every seat, and Sirius XM satellite radio.
In September 1999, the airline was awarded 75 initial take-off/landing slots at John F. Kennedy International Airport and received its USDOT CPCN authorization in February 2000. It commenced operations on February 11, 2000, with services to Buffalo and Fort Lauderdale.
JetBlue's founders had set out to call the airline "Taxi" and therefore have a yellow livery to associate the airline with New York. The idea was dropped, however, for several reasons: the negative connotation behind New York City taxis; the ambiguity of the word taxi with regard to air traffic control; and threats from investor JP Morgan to pull its share ($20 million of the total $128 million) of the airline's initial funding unless the name was changed.
JetBlue was one of only a few U.S. airlines that made a profit during the sharp downturn in airline travel following the September 11, 2001 attacks. The company's planned initial public offering was put on hold due to the attacks and subsequent downturn. The IPO took place in April 2002.
The airline sector responded to JetBlue's market presence by starting mini-rival carriers: Delta Air Lines started Song and United Airlines launched another rival called Ted. Song has since been disbanded and was reabsorbed by Delta Air Lines and Ted reabsorbed by United.
In October 2005, JetBlue's quarterly profit had plunged from US$8.1 million to $2.7 million largely due to rising fuel costs. Operational issues, fuel prices, and low fares, JetBlue's hallmark, were bringing its financial performance down. In addition, with higher costs related to the airline's numerous amenities, JetBlue was becoming less competitive.
For many years, analysts had predicted that JetBlue's growth rate would become unsustainable. Despite this, the airline continued to add planes and routes to the fleet at a brisk pace. In addition in 2006, the IAM (International Association of Machinists) attempted to unionize JetBlue's "ramp service workers", in a move that was described by JetBlue's COO Dave Barger as "pretty hypocritical", as the IAM opposed JetBlue's creation when it was founded as New Air in 1998. The union organizing petition was dismissed by the National Mediation Board because fewer than 35 percent of eligible employees supported an election.
JetBlue experienced its first-ever quarterly loss during the fourth quarter of 2005 when the airline lost $42.4 million, enough to make them unprofitable for the entire year of 2005. The loss was the airline's first since going public in 2002. In addition to that, JetBlue forecasted a loss for 2006, citing high fuel prices, operating inefficiency, and fleet costs. During the first quarter report, CEO David Neeleman, President Dave Barger, and then-CFO John Owen released JetBlue's "Return to Profitability" ("RTP") plan, stating in detail how they would curtail costs and improve revenue to regain profitability. The plan called for $50 million in annual cost cuts and a push to boost revenue by $30 million. In October 2006, JetBlue announced a net loss of $500,000 for Quarter 3, and a plan to regain that loss by deferring some of their E190 deliveries and by selling five of their A320s.
In December 2006, JetBlue, as part of their RTP plan, removed a row of seats from their A320s to lighten the aircraft by 904 lb (410 kg) and reduce the cabin crew size from four to three (per FAA regulation requiring one flight attendant per 50 seats), thus offsetting the lost revenue from the removal of seats, and further lightening the aircraft, resulting in less fuel burned. In January 2007, JetBlue returned to profitability with a fourth quarter profit in 2006, reversing a quarterly loss in the year-earlier period. As part of the RTP plan, 2006's full-year loss was $1 million compared to 2005's full-year loss of $20 million. JetBlue was one of the few major airlines to post a profit in that quarter.
While its financial performance started showing signs of improvement, in February 2007, JetBlue faced a crisis, when the blizzard of 2007 hit the Northeast and Midwest, throwing the airline's operations into chaos. Because JetBlue followed the practice of never cancelling flights, it desisted from calling flights off, even when the ice storm hit and the airline was forced to keep several planes on the ground. Because of this, passengers were kept waiting at the airports for their flights to take off. In some cases, passengers who had already boarded their planes were kept waiting on the apron for several hours and were not allowed to disembark. However, after all this, the airline was eventually forced to cancel most of its flights because of prevailing weather conditions. The fiasco reportedly cost JetBlue $30 million.
Following the February 2007 incident in which the airline was forced to cancel nearly 1,700 flights due to winter storms, JetBlue's board of directors replaced founder and Chief Executive Officer David Neeleman with Dave Barger. He had politicked the board, while Neeleman was busy publicly apologizing. Barger's ascendancy caused widespread demoralization in the ranks. He became JetBlue's new Chief Executive Officer on May 10, 2007. Neeleman, the company's founder and largest individual investor, became a nonexecutive chairman as a result of the change.
In 2007, JetBlue was also facing reliability problems with its Embraer 190 fleet. For a couple of months, JetBlue contracted ExpressJet to operate four Embraer 145 regional jets on behalf of JetBlue. While this was going on, two E-190 aircraft at a time were sent to an Embraer maintenance facility in Nashville, Tennessee. ExpressJet operated routes between Boston Logan and Buffalo, New York and Washington Dulles, and between New York–JFK and Columbus, Ohio (has terminated) and Richmond, Virginia.
In July 2007, the airline partnered with 20th Century Fox's film The Simpsons Movie to become the "Official Airline of Springfield". In addition a contest was held in which the grand prize would be a trip on JetBlue to Los Angeles to attend the premiere of the film. The airline's website was also redecorated with characters and their favorite JetBlue destinations and the company was taken over by the show/film's businessman villain Montgomery Burns.
On November 8, 2007, JetBlue appointed Ed Barnes as interim CFO, following the resignation of former CFO John Harvey.
On December 13, 2007, JetBlue and Germany-based Lufthansa announced JetBlue's intent to sell 19% of JetBlue to Lufthansa, pending approval from US regulators. Following the acquisition, Lufthansa stated they planned to seek operational cooperation with JetBlue. Lufthansa planned to offer connections to JetBlue flights in Boston, New York (JFK), and Orlando International Airport (no longer a connection). After making a codeshare agreement with Lufthansa that went into effect in 2010, JetBlue transitioned to the Sabre reservation system used by Lufthansa, enabling the airlines to sell tickets on each other's flights, transfer luggage and passengers between the two carriers, and combine frequent flyer programs. By making use of JetBlue's North America routes as a feeder network, the agreement put Lufthansa in a position to operate quasi-hubs in New York–JFK and Boston Logan.
In the March edition of Airways Magazine, it was announced that once JetBlue partnered with Yahoo! and with BlackBerry producer Research in Motion, that the airline would offer free, limited Wi-Fi capabilities on a single aircraft, N651JB, an Airbus A320-232 dubbed "BetaBlue". People could access e-mail with a Wi-Fi capable Blackberry, or use Yahoo!'s e-mail and instant messaging with a Wi-Fi capable laptop, while in flight over the US. LiveTV in Melbourne Florida, created and operated the "BetaBlue" prototype. The "BetaBlue" system utilized the bandwidth and infrastructure of defunct Airfone.
In 2008, JetBlue partnered with Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus to allow passengers to switch between airlines on a single ticket for flights with connections in either New York JFK or Boston. Unlike traditional codeshare agreements, the partnership did not allow the airlines to directly sell seats on each other's flights, therefore, customers initiated the purchase on one airline's website and then were transferred to the other site to complete the transaction.
On March 19, 2008, JetBlue added Orlando, Florida as a gateway focus city to international destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America. New international routes from Orlando International Airport include Cancún, Mexico; Bridgetown, Barbados; Bogotá, Colombia; Nassau, Bahamas; San José, Costa Rica; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In conjunction with the addition of new routes the airline continued significant expansion of operations at Orlando International Airport including a 292-room lodge that houses trainees attending the existing "JetBlue University" training facility, which opened in 2015.
On August 4, 2008, the Associated Press reported that JetBlue would replace their recycled pillows and blankets with an "eco-friendly" pillow and blanket package that passengers would have to purchase for use. This decision was in a series of moves designed to increase revenue. JetBlue told the Associated Press that it expected to collect $40 million from passengers selecting seats with extra legroom and $20 million from passengers paying $15 to check a second bag. In September 2008, JetBlue began charging passengers $10–30 for an extended-leg-room seat depending on the length of the flight.
On October 22, 2008, JetBlue opened its new primary hub at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Terminal 5, or simply T5, costing approximately $800 million to create. The first flight arrived from Bob Hope Airport (B6 #358) at 5:06am followed by arrivals from Oakland International Airport and Long Beach Airport, respectively. The new T5 would replace JetBlue current hub at JFK Terminal 6. The last flight to operate out of T6 was a departure to Rafael Hernández Airport in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, departing at 11:59pm.
In 2009, JetBlue announced that it was looking for a new headquarters location, and was considering moving either within the New York City metropolitan area or to the Orlando, Florida area. In April 2009, Helen Marshall, the president of the Borough of Queens, said that the City of New York was trying to keep JetBlue in the city.
On October 13, 2009, the airline unveiled a modification to its livery in commemoration of the upcoming tenth anniversary of the airline in February 2010. Besides a new tail design, the revised livery includes larger "billboard" titles extending down over the passenger windows at the front of the aircraft. The logo word 'jetBlue' was no longer silver and blue but a dark, navy blue.
In 2010, JetBlue entered into interline booking agreements with South African Airways and American Airlines to facilitate luggage transfers between airlines for passengers with connecting flights on a different carrier. The agreement with American included JetBlue's 18 destinations not served by American and American's 12 international flights out of New York–JFK and Boston Logan. In addition, American gave JetBlue 8 round trips slots out of Washington National in D.C. and 2 out of Westchester, New York. In return, JetBlue gave American 6 round trips out of New York–JFK. The agreement with American Airlines has since ended according to JetBlue's website.
In January 2010, the CEO of JetBlue, Dave Barger, and Governor of Florida Charlie Crist met in Tallahassee, Florida to discuss a possible move of the airlines headquarters to Orlando. On March 22, 2010, JetBlue announced it headquarters would remain in the New York City area, in Long Island City, because of the airline's historical links to the city, the cost of staff relocations, the airline's desire to retain access to financial markets, and because Aer Lingus and Lufthansa, JetBlue's marketing partners, fly into JFK Airport. JetBlue planned to combine its Forest Hills and Darien, Connecticut offices, together about 1,000 employees, into about 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) in the Brewster Building by mid-2012. On March 22, 2010, JetBlue turned down incentives from the City of Orlando and announced its headquarters would keep its Forest Hills office, start leasing and using a new office in the Brewster Building in Long Island City, New York. in Queens Plaza in Long Island City, move its headquarters there in mid-2012, and start a joint branding deal with New York State using the iconic I Love NY logo.
In October 2013, JetBlue introduced Mint, a premium cabin service on transcontinental and select Caribbean flights. The service began in 2014, using the Airbus A321-231 aircraft ordered by JetBlue. These planes are outfitted with winglets, as well as with "lie flat" seats, and moveable partitions that can create small suites on the airplane. Called "Mint" by JetBlue, these planes are configured with 16 business-class seats and 143 economy seats, instead of an all-economy configuration of 190 seats.
On September 18, 2014, Dave Barger announced his resignation from the company effective February 16, 2015, following several reports that investors and the board were unhappy with his performance. He was replaced on the board and as CEO by Robin Hayes.
During the last few days of June and the first few days of July 2015, JetBlue began charging for bags in certain booking classes, leaving Southwest Airlines the only major U.S. carrier to not charge for bags. For the classes in which bag check fees were charged (generally the lowest class of fares offered; JetBlue offered three classes of fares), the cost was $20 for the first bag and $35 for the second, which was the lowest in the United States besides Frontier Airlines with similar prices.
On May 6, 2015, JetBlue was one of the first airlines to be granted a license to commence charter flights to Cuba, with flights departing from New York City. The weekly charter service began on July 3, 2015, with 150-seat Airbus A320s.
In July 2016, JetBlue announced commercial flights from the United States to Cuba would commence in late August. On August 31, 2016, JetBlue Flight 387 from Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport to Abel Santamaría Airport, in Santa Clara, became the first scheduled commercial flight between the United States and Cuba in 55 years. Only charter flights were allowed under previous rules, which required that passengers had to arrive more than four hours before the scheduled departure and often endure long lines for documentation checks, late flight arrivals, and pay high baggage fees.
In November 2016, JetBlue painted one of their Airbus A320 aircraft, N763JB, in a 1960s retrojet livery, dubbed "What's Old is Blue Again". The livery's maiden flight was on Friday, from New York JFK to Palm Springs.
In July 2017, JetBlue announced it was taking qualifications to develop a terminal at JFK that would not only occupy terminal 5 but also the space of terminals 6 and 7.
In April 2018, JetBlue announced their return to Ontario International Airport in southern California after ten years, as well as new service to Steamboat Springs in Colorado, and Bozeman in Montana.
In April 2019, JetBlue announced that it would launch transatlantic flights to London from Boston and New York. The airline added that it would be converting 13 orders for the A321neo into the longer range Airbus A321LR to serve the new routes.
On May 1, 2019, JetBlue named Michael Stromer Chief Product Officer, Technology. Mr. Stromer was selected to lead the design and execution of the digital commerce web and mobile applications that support revenue initiatives; technology for airport, customer support (reservations), system operations, technical operations, flight, and inflight teams, as well as back office products. 
On October 18, 2019, JetBlue and Norwegian Air Shuttle announced plans for an interline agreement that would permit sales of jointly-issued tickets, which if approved between the two airlines, would come into effect during 2020. The partnership takes advantage of each airline having substantial pre-existing presence at New York–JFK, Boston, and Fort Lauderdale airports.
In February 2020, Joel Peterson announces his intentions to retire from the airline's board of directors at the end of his current term. Peterson has been part of the airline's board of directors since 1999 and serving as chairman since 2008.
JetBlue made changes to its operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated impacts on aviation. This included the reduction of passenger capacity by blocking middle seats on its Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, and aisle seats on the Embraer E190. As a result of the economic effects caused by the pandemic, the company launched voluntary separation and extended time off programs.
In May 2020, Peter Boneparth succeeded Joel Peterson as Chairman of JetBlue's board of directors.
In June 2020, the airline announced several new routes across its network, including point-to-point routes between the northeastern United States and Florida, and new transcontinental routes from Newark Liberty International Airport. Along with the current problems with the Coronavirus pandemic's impact on aviation, the airline announced that over 60% of its employees were interested in taking early retirement or long-term leave from the firm.
In July 2020, American Airlines joined the airline in a strategic partnership, which would allow both airlines' expansions to destinations, customer connectivity, and support of expansions through the airline's loyalty program. Along with its announcement of its strategic partnership with American Airlines, the airline announced the imminent closure of its base at Long Beach Airport and transfer of the base's operations to Los Angeles International Airport.
In August 2020, JetBlue, along with Southwest Airlines implemented strict policies for the wearing of facial masks, the policies of which would additionally not allow for "medical exemptions", as part of their procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic. They announced that they would also continue to block middle seats through at least mid-October.
On October 6, 2020, JetBlue officially closed its Long Beach hub and moved all Long Beach operations to Los Angeles. JetBlue could operate up to 74 daily flights out of their new hub compared to the old 24 daily flights out of Long Beach.
On February 1, 2021, JetBlue introduced their new Mint product called Mint Suite. Each of their A321LRs will be fitted with 24 suites. Each suite will feature direct aisle access, a fully lie-flat seat, a sliding door, 17 inch TV with tuft-and-needle foam cushions. The suites were to be primarily used on transatlantic flights to London.
On April 26th, 2021, JetBlue had its inaugural flight of the A220-300 which flew from Boston Logan International Airport to Tampa International Airport. The plane’s tail number is N3008J and is named Rob Dewar.
As of February 2021[update], JetBlue Airways flies to 98 destinations in the Americas, with most of them in the United States and the Caribbean, and a smaller selection of destinations in parts of Central and South America.
JetBlue has entered into a number of codeshare agreements with other airlines, meaning airlines agree to share certain flights, which both airlines market and publish on their own flight schedules under their respective airline designators and flight numbers.
JetBlue codeshares with the following airlines:
|Airbus A220-300||2||68||—||25||115||140||Deliveries began December 31, 2020.|
To replace Embraer 190.
|Airbus A320-200||56||—||—||42||108||150||To be retrofitted to 162-seat configuration.|
|35||—||16||41||102||159||Equipped with Mint Suite configuration.|
|Airbus A321LR||1||12||24||24||90||138||Deliveries began April 29, 2021. |
To be used on transatlantic flights.
|2||16||42||102||160||Equipped with Mint Suite configuration.|
|Airbus A321XLR||—||13||TBA||Deliveries scheduled to begin in 2023.|
|Embraer 190||60||—||—||16||84||100||Launch customer.|
To be retired in 2025.
JetBlue offers Core (Main Cabin) seating across its fleet. The Core cabin includes leather seats, complimentary Wi-Fi, complimentary entertainment screens with DirecTV, Sirius XM Radio, and movies, as well as complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic drinks.
Mint is JetBlue's premium class service and is available coast to coast and on select Caribbean routes on configured Airbus A321s. It includes fully lie-flat seats, some of which have sliding panels for more privacy.
JetBlue's in-flight entertainment options consist of gate-to-gate Fly-Fi internet access, over 100 channels of DIRECTV, Sirius XM Radio, and movies, and on the Airbus A321 and newer retrofitted Airbus A320 aircraft, a 15-inch interactive video screen which is not available on the rest of the fleet. JetBlue's partnership with Amazon lets customers watch Amazon Prime videos by connecting to Wi-Fi and downloading the Amazon Video app on their mobile phone or tablet. The in-flight WiFi under the "Fly-Fi" network is complimentary on all flights, at speeds of 12–15 megabits per second.
JetBlue's frequent-flyer program is called TrueBlue. Under the original TrueBlue program, flights were worth two, four, or six points based on distance of the flights, and double points were awarded for flights booked online.
In September 2009, JetBlue made changes to its TrueBlue program. In the new program, members receive three points for every dollar spent toward a flight, excluding taxes and fees, plus an additional three points for every dollar spent on a flight if booked online directly on the JetBlue.com website. Additional points are awarded if the member uses the Barclay's issued JetBlue Mastercard credit card to purchase the flight. The price of flights in points depend on the fare of the flight in U.S. dollars. The new program launched on November 9, 2009.
Headquarters and officesEdit
JetBlue's headquarters are in the Brewster Building in Long Island City, New York. JetBlue previously had its headquarters at 80–02 Kew Gardens Road, and then in the Forest Hills Tower, both in Forest Hills, Queens, New York City, 6 miles (9.7 km) from the current office in Long Island City.
JetBlue operates with most of the features of a low-cost carrier (LCC), for example (and as referred to in their Annual Report), a fleet of new and efficient aircraft of (mainly) one model, high aircraft utilization, point-to-point routes (with several aircraft bases), relatively low distribution costs, and without membership of a major airline alliance.
However in JetBlue business model, the airline offers more than one class of cabin, provides free in-flight entertainment and refreshments, and maintains codeshare agreements with several other airlines.
JetBlue's first major advertising campaign incorporated phrases like "Unbelievable" and "We like you, too". Full-page newspaper advertisements boasted low fares, new aircraft, leather seats, spacious legroom, and a customer-service-oriented staff committed to "bringing humanity back to air travel". JetBlue became the first airline to offer all passengers personalized in-flight entertainment. In April 2000, flat-screen monitors installed in every seatback allowed customers live access to over 20 DirecTV channels at no additional cost.
As JetBlue gained market share, they found a position where they competed with other low-cost carriers as well as major carriers. Amenities such as their live in-flight television, free and unlimited snack offerings, comfortable legroom, and unique promotions fostered an image of impeccable customer service that rivaled the major airlines, while competitive low fares made them a threat to low-cost no-frills carriers as well.
Subsidiaries and investmentsEdit
JetBlue Technology VenturesEdit
JetBlue Technology Ventures (JTV) is a wholly owned subsidiary of JetBlue that was established in February 2016. JTV is the venture capital arm of JetBlue that invests in and partners with early-stage startups in the travel, hospitality, and transportation space. Its mission is to improve the end-to-end experience of travelers everywhere. As of November 2018[update], JTV has invested in 21 startups, including hybrid planes, machine learning algorithms, and ground transportation. Investments range in size from $250,000 to $1 million.
On October 25, 2016 the airline JSX (then branded as JetSuiteX) announced that JetBlue had made a minority equity investment in the airline. Part of the agreement also gave JetBlue a seat on JetSuite's board of directors. Reasons for the investment was outlined by CEO Robin Hayes, stating "Our investment in JetSuite makes sense as we continue to execute on our west coast plan and invest in innovative ideas that reflect the disruptive spirit of JetBlue." In JetBlue's 1st quarter 2018 investor call, JetBlue's CFO Steven Priest confirmed the airline held about 10% of JetSuiteX. The airline was rebranded from JetSuiteX to JSX in August 2019.
TWA Flight Center HotelEdit
The TWA Hotel is the TWA Flight Center structure at JFK airport that was rebuilt into 505-room hotel. The hotel preserves the Eero Saarinen TWA head house while replacing the structures on either side of the head house. Situated in front of JetBlue's JFK terminal, JetBlue has 5–10% ownership of the hotel. The hotel is an effective replacement for the Ramada Plaza JFK Hotel on the north end of the airport grounds in Building 144, which closed in 2009.
LiveTV was a wholly owned subsidiary of JetBlue since 2002. The LiveTV subsidiary provided seat back entertainment systems with Live Satellite Television and Live Satellite Radio to airlines including JetBlue. The subsidiary was sold to Thales for nearly $400 million in June 2014.
JetBlue Travel ProductsEdit
JetBlue Travel Products, a subsidiary created in 2018, consists of the JetBlue Vacations brand and other non-air travel products including travel insurance, cruises, car rentals and more. In May 2018, JetBlue Travel Products moved to Florida, with JetBlue Vacations as its top travel product.
Incidents and accidentsEdit
- September 21, 2005: Flight 292 en route from Bob Hope Airport in Burbank to New York JFK performed an emergency landing at Los Angeles International Airport (pictured) following a failure of the nose landing gear during retraction when it turned 90 degrees. The plane landed after holding for about three hours to burn fuel and therefore lighten the aircraft. The aircraft came to a stop without incident on runway 25L, the second-longest runway at LAX. The only apparent damage to the plane upon landing was the destruction of the front wheels, which were ground down to almost semicircles, and the tires; the front landing strut held. No one sustained injuries.
- March 27, 2012: Flight 191 en route from New York JFK to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas performed an emergency landing at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport after the captain, Clayton Osbon, was locked out of the cockpit and subdued by passengers after he started acting erratically and ranting about terrorists. It is believed that Osbon suffered from an unspecified mental breakdown, and was treated by Northwest Texas Healthcare System. There were no fatalities. This happened three years before the similar Germanwings Flight 9525 accident of an Airbus A320 in France.
- On August 9, 2014, Flight 704 from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan to New York JFK aborted takeoff after one of the engines caught fire. All 186 passengers were evacuated from the aircraft. Two women received minor injuries during the evacuation.
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