JetBlue values cushions, competition, challenging markets

Robin Hayes, CEO of JetBlue Airways, reminded A4A Airline Summit attendees that the airline industry is always subject to external events, so it is nice that JetBlue and other US airlines finally have good financial cushions. They should, however, still plan conservatively, Hayes advises.

Meanwhile, he thinks US consumers are very fortunate to have several models, legacy, traditional low-cost, regional and ultra low-cost, each offering a different service, to choose from. The exception to this favorable environment is in slot-constrained airports. “We have spent a lot of time and money getting limited slot positions in DC Reagan and New York LaGuardia,” Hayes noted. “When slots are concentrated, fares get higher.” He objected to possible Federal mandates for airline performance, for example on baggage, pointing out there are “always unanticipated consequences to mandates. Let the market sort this out.” The carrier certainly likes challenging markets. JetBlue will announce its 21st destination country this week.

Henry Canaday, contributor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/
Washington, DC, USA

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