How can you say that there wouldn't be anything in it for jetBlue? Right now, jetBlue is hemmed in on the west coast at LGB
. It will never, ever be as effective a hub as JFK
is for them, because of the slot constraints.
, and you get 2nd billing in DEN
. No LCC competition to speak of (don't even mention Ted), a mainline carrier who will be on the ropes for a while, a facility that can expand when necessary, a loyal passenger base who would continue to be loyal post-merger, a new route mix that includes very little overlap, not to mention a quick fleet and option boost.
's load factor increases over the past year have been tremendous. They're moving a ton of people. Their ASM increases have largely been responsible for UA
nearly losing a majority of DEN
passengers. Last I heard, UA
's share in DEN
was 51%, down dramatically, and the lowest in years. It's only a matter of time until it dips below 50%. jetBlue could come in and crank up the pressure in DEN
Now, jetBlue would probably pay quite a premium for F9
-- their stock is doing fairly well these days and there would need to be a lot of money on the table to make it happen, but it would propel jetBlue into the big-leagues pretty quickly...
October 2003 ASMs:
That would put them below America West and ahead of Alaska in terms of capacity, the 9th largest airline by that measure. They're currently the 11th.
Basically, buying F9
would shave a year off of their trend to being a major, which by some measures they already are... but it accelerates their current position and lets them grow faster than they would have alone. The average growth between F9
is 30% or so. If they continued to grow at 30% post-merger, you could see them get to be the size of USAirways within 2-3 years. That's all without factoring in the Embraers, which would work well for jetBlue in the west, if they had a good base for them.
Buying a year could be well worth it, especially when you have US still on the ropes big time and most of the rest of the majors hurting badly. It's a good time to strike.