JetBlue Airways Corporation (NASDAQ: JBLU), stylized as jetBlue, is an American low-cost airline headquartered in New York City. A major air carrier and the sixth-largest airline in the United States. JetBlue is headquartered in the Long Island City neighborhood of the New York City borough of Queens, with its main base at John F. Kennedy International Airport. It also maintains corporate offices in Cottonwood Heights, Utah and Orlando, Florida.
On October 22, 2008, jetBlue opened its new primary hub at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Terminal 5, or simply T5. The mostly new terminal, costing approximately $800 million, partially encircles the historic TWA Flight Center, the former Trans World Airlines terminal designed by Eero Saarinen, which remains closed. According to the plan, passengers will eventually be able to check in for flights in the landmark building, then transfer to the new structure via the original passenger departing-arrival tubes from Saarinen's original terminal and its 1969 addition by Roche-Dinkeloo.
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 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 plan to seek operational cooperation with jetBlue. Lufthansa plans to offer connections to JetBlue flights in Boston, New York (JFK), and Orlando International Airport (no longer a connection).
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 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.
At 19″ wide, the middle seats in the airline's Airbus 321s, A320s, and A319s are wider than the window and aisle seats and, as of July 2015 when the airline began installing them, are the widest middle seats of any airline in the U.S. The A321ceo and A321neo, utilized on longer flights, features industry-standard seat pitch of 30"-32". The airline uses a seat pitch of only 28″-29", the tightest seat pitch of any airline in the United States, on their A320ceo and A320neo, typically operated on shorter flights. Frontier Airlines has 28"-31" on the Airbus A319, which they are phasing out. Main cabin seats are "pre-reclined" by the airline and there are no televisions mounted at any of the seats in order to save weight.
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. JetBlue also reported a loss in the first quarter of 2006. 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. jetBlue Airways moved out of the red during the second quarter of 2006, beating Wall Street expectations by announcing a net profit of $14 million. That result was flat when compared to jetBlue's results from the same quarter a year before ($13 million), but it was double Wall Street forecasts of a $7 million profit, Reuters reports. The carrier said cost-cutting and stronger revenue helped it offset higher jet fuel costs. 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 5 of their A320s.
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On June 22, 2009, Frontier Airlines announced that pending bankruptcy court approval, Republic Airways Holdings, the Indianapolis-based parent company of Republic Airlines, would acquire all assets of Frontier Airlines for the amount of $108 million. Thus, Frontier Airlines would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Republic. However, 5 weeks later on July 30, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines announced that it would be making a competing bid of $113.6 million for Frontier with intentions to also operate Frontier as a wholly owned subsidiary, but that it would gradually fold Frontier resources into current Southwest operating assets.
The initial JetExpress partnership with Mesa ended in January 2004, when Horizon Air was selected to operate the routes. Horizon utilized slightly larger CRJ-700 regional jet aircraft on these routes. In August 2006, Frontier and Horizon ended their partnership. While Frontier was generally pleased with Horizon's operation, the carrier decided that it needed to revisit the agreement and find a provider with additional regional jets to grow the operation. The last of the CRJ-700's was returned to the Horizon Air fleet on November 30, 2007.
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.
As of April 2019, jetBlue Airways flies to 102 destinations in North, Central, and South America; including destinations in Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Saint Maarten, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United States.
In July 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation fined Travelocity $180,000 after discovering that Travelocity's “flexible dates tool” did not always include fuel surcharges that were part of many international airfares in violation of the Department's rules requiring all carrier-imposed surcharges and fees to be included in every advertised fare. In addition, the DOT found that the customer was informed only on the final page before purchasing the ticket that some itineraries required a paper ticket with a minimum additional delivery fee of $29.95.
On July 24, 2007, jetBlue reported that its second-quarter revenue increased to $730 million, compared to $612 in 2006. Second quarter net income grew to $21 million for the quarter, from $14 million the previous year. CEO David Barger said the airline will take delivery of three fewer planes this year and will sell three planes from their current fleet, "slowing capacity growth ... to strengthen our balance sheet and facilitate earnings growth", but will continue to add two to four new destinations each year.
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.
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's in-flight options consist of gate-to-gate Fly-Fi service, offering over one hundred channels of DIRECTV, Sirius XM Radio, and movies, and on the Airbus A321, a 15″ 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.
In an effort to focus on regional contract flights for major carriers, Republic Airways Holdings announced in January 2012 its intention to sell or spin off Frontier. On January 26, 2012, Republic Airways Holdings appointed former US Airways and Gate Gourmet CEO David Siegel as President and CEO of Frontier Airlines. Republic also added new senior officers for Frontier's finance and commercial team, among other changes in the executive leadership team. Siegel and other Frontier executives moved to Denver where Frontier is headquartered in order to facilitate management of all aspects of Frontier during its separation process from Republic and continue its transformation into an ultra-low-cost carrier.