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JetBlue Beginnings and Operational Methods

Steve Brindza

Ohio Dominican University

JetBlue Beginnings and Operational Methods

This section details the history of JetBlue, focusing on the activities of founder, David Neeleman. JetBlue Airways, based in Forest Hills, New York, was founded in February, 1999, by David Neeleman, the son of Mormon missionaries. He was born in Sao Paolo, Brazil, but raised in a tightly-knit Mormon family (Gajilan, 2003). After serving as a Brazilian missionary during college, Neeleman returned to his family’s base in Salt Lake City and began an enterprising condominium rental business. As a tenacious seller, Neeleman’s approach caught the eye of June
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Similarly, Neeleman investigated meal service and found that customers would be satisfied with light snacks and sodas in lieu of lunch and dinner entrees. JetBlue saved roughly $3 per passenger by cutting out meal service (Barney and Hesterly, 2010), but selected premier-label snacks, such as Terra Blue potato chips (Gajilan, 2003). The notable cost-saver was utilizing flight crews to clean airline cabins after each flight, which was inspired by the similar team player culture found at Southwest. Special cleaning crews were not needed, and JetBlue was able to speed airplane turnaround time to 35 minutes. This number was substantially below the industry average of one hour, and the quicker turnaround was implemented largely to sell more flights daily (Gajilan, 2003). Neeleman utilized his knowledge of electronic ticketing and Internet-based reservations to further reduce staff engaging in customer transactions. A major operational cost saving involved entering the major air industry with a new fleet of Airbus aircraft. Although European made, Airbus was chosen due to their fuel efficiency, easier maintenance, and five-year warranty (Gajilan, 2003). Neeleman realized that quick turnaround time was a crucial factor in maximizing profits by simply keeping the new planes in the air longer than the competition. Because JetBlue worked largely out of secondary airports (Midway vs. O’Hare), its flights avoided more
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