Neeleman and jetBlue

Businessweek has a story about former jetBlue CEO David Neeleman being interested in perhaps purchasing jetBlue in the near future.  Neeleman denies interest in purchasing jetBlue but it does bring up a subject that I find interesting.

jetBlue is the airline that could and did but no longer does.  After 6 years, I cannot point to this airline as entity that shows much opportunity for growth and which  certainly seems to put in rather poor results for such a young entity with nominally good partnerships. It isn’t that the airline performs at a loss.  It’s that the airline just kind of coasts on what is arguably very good times for airlines.

Growth continues to be focused on the congested cities of the north and the Caribbean and when they do add the odd midwestern city, they do so very timidly.  It’s not as if this airline is proceeding at its own pace and with deliberate design.  It’s as if it is creeping around the United States looking for the odd piece of low hanging fruit desperate not to be noticed by a Big Bad Legacy Airline.

That’s no way to run an airline and particularly not in the upper Northeast Corridor.

I think it would be great to see David Neeleman buy jetBlue and do something bold with it again.  I also think that David Neeleman could do better by starting another airline in the US and allowing jetBlue to muddle along.  Neeleman seems to correctly sense that the airline has a sickness that won’t be easy to cure.



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