JetBlue is a new start-up airline that began operations in February 2000. JetBlue is based at New York-JFK and operates a fleet of Airbus A320's configured to seat 160 in a one-class coach arrangement. Each seat has its own personal TV (PTV), the only low-fare carrier to offer this service.
From the JFK hub, JetBlue offers about 35 daily flights, to Upstate New York (ROC, BUF, and in May SYR); BTV; Florida (MCO, TPA, FLL, RSW, PBI); and the West (ONT, OAK, SLC, and soon DEN and SEA). The West coast flights are redeyes that squeeze additional revenue out of planes that would be snoozing at JFK.
Their fares are great. Yesterday I found one-way ROC-JFK of $94 round trip w 21 day advance; $194 walk-up. US Airways was offering $473 walk-up on ROC-LGA. JetBlue fares cross-country start at $99 each way and top out at around $250 each way.
JetBlue has gotten a lot of media attention despite its small size because of the reputation of its founder and CEO, David Neeleman. Neeleman founded Morris Air in the Pacific NW in the early '90s; he modeled it on Southwest with the explicit intention of selling to them. In 1994 Southwest bought Morris Air; Herb Kelleher was so impressed with Neeleman that he made him sign a five-year noncompete agreement.
That agreement expired in 1999, so Neeleman set his sights on the fare-gouged Northeast. He raised an impressive $135 million start-up capital from sources including George Soros. New York members of Congress helped him get slots at JFK. In 2/00 JetBlue began with flights to BUF and MCO, and the rest is history. JEtBlue broke even in August 2000, well over a year ahead of schedule. Load factors are great, from everything I read.
JetBlue is in my view the next People Express, without the fatal mistakes. Neeleman is growing the carrier within capitalization limits; avoiding congested airports (JFK is actually uncongested most of the day); and offering superior service and a good product. Very importantly, Jetblue has a frequent-flyer program in the works, a necessity for grabbing and keeping market share in the Northeast. New York is ripe for a big low-fare carrier, surrounded by many high-fare markets such as Rochester and Syracuse where huge profits await a low-fare carrier of JetBlue's profile.
If JetBlue is in your market, give 'em a try. Everyone I know who's flown JetBlue loves them.
Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)