JetBlue was incorporated in Delaware in August 1998. David Neeleman founded the company in February 1999, under the name "NewAir." Several of JetBlue's executives, including Neeleman, are former Southwest Airlines employees. JetBlue started by following Southwest's approach of offering low-cost travel, but sought to distinguish itself by its amenities, such as in-flight entertainment, TV on every seat and Satellite radio. In Neeleman's words, JetBlue looks "to bring humanity back to air travel." In September 1999, the airline was awarded 75 initial take off/landing slots at John F. Kennedy International Airport, and received formal U.S. authorization in February 2000. It started operations on February 11, 2000, with service to Buffalo and Ft. Lauderdale. JetBlue's founders had set out to call the airline "Taxi" and therefore have a yellow livery to associate the airline with New York. The idea was dropped, however, for several reasons: the negative connotation behind New York City taxis; the ambiguity of the word taxi with regard to air traffic control; and threats from investor JP Morgan to pull its share ($20 million of the total $128 million) of the airline's initial funding unless the name was changed. 2000s JetBlue was one of only a few U.S. airlines that made a profit during the sharp downturn in airline travel following the September 11, 2001, attacks. The airline sector responded to JetBlue's market presence by starting mini-rival carriers: Delta Air Lines started Song, and United Airlines launched another rival called Ted. Song has since been disbanded and was reabsorbed by Delta Air Lines, and United has discontinued Ted as a separate brand.
JetBlue Founder David Neeleman in 2006 In October 2005, JetBlue announced that its quarterly profit had plunged from US$8.1 million to $2.7 million largely due to rising fuel costs. Operational issues, fuel prices, and low fares, JetBlue's hallmark, were bringing its financial performance down. In addition, with higher costs related to the airline's numerous amenities, JetBlue was becoming less competitive. Regardless, the airline continued to plan for growth. It was announced that 36 new aircraft were scheduled for delivery in the year 2006. For many years, analysts had predicted that JetBlue's growth rate would become unsustainable. Despite this, the airline continued to add planes and routes to the fleet at a brisk pace. In addition in 2006, the IAM (International Association of Machinists) attempted to unionize JetBlue's "ramp service workers," in a move that was described by JetBlue's COO Dave Barger as "pretty hypocritical," as the IAM opposed JetBlue's creation when it was founded as New Air in 1998. The union organizing petition was dismissed by the National Mediation Board because fewer than 35 percent of eligible employees supported an election. In February 2006, JetBlue announced its first ever quarterly loss. For 4th quarter 2005, the airline lost $42.4 million, enough to make them unprofitable for the entire year of 2005. The loss was the airline's first since going public in 2002. JetBlue also reported a loss in the 1st quarter 2006. In addition to that, JetBlue forecast a loss for 2006, citing high fuel prices, operating inefficiency, and fleet costs. During the first quarter report, CEO David Neeleman, President Dave Barger, and then-CFO John Owen released JetBlue's "Return to Profitability" ("RTP") plan, stating in detail how they would curtail costs and improve revenue to regain profitability. The plan called for $50 million in annual cost cuts and a push to boost revenue by $30 million. JetBlue Airways moved out of the dark during the second quarter of 2006, beating Wall Street expectations by announcing a net profit of $14 million. That result was flat when compared to JetBlue's results from the same quarter a year ago ($13 million), but it was double Wall Street forecasts of a $7 million profit, Reuters reports. The carrier said cost-cutting and stronger revenue helped it offset higher jet fuel costs. In October 2006, JetBlue announced a net loss of $500,000 for Quarter 3, and a plan to regain that loss by deferring some of their E190 deliveries, and by selling 5 of their A320s. In December 2006, JetBlue announced another component of the RTP, when they explained the reasoning behind their decision to remove a row of seats off their A320s. The removal of the seats will lighten the aircraft by 904 lb (410 kg), and will reduce the inflight crew size from four to three (per FAA regulation requiring one flight attendant per 50 seats), thus offsetting the lost revenue from the removal of seats, and further lightening the aircraft, resulting in less fuel burned. In January 2007, JetBlue announced it had returned to profitability with a fourth quarter profit for 2006, reversing a quarterly loss in the year-earlier period. As part of the RTP plan, 2006's full year loss was $1 million compared to 2005's full year loss of $20 million. JetBlue was one of the few major airlines to post a profit in the quarter. While its financial performance started showing signs of improvement, in February 2007, JetBlue faced a crisis, when a snowstorm hit the Northeast and Midwest, throwing the airline's operations into chaos. Because JetBlue followed the practice of never canceling flights, it desisted from calling flights off, even when the ice storm hit and the airline was forced to keep several planes on the ground. Because of this, passengers were kept waiting at the airports for their flights to take off. In some cases, passengers who had already boarded their planes were kept waiting on the tarmac for several hours and were not allowed to disembark. However, after all this, the airline was eventually forced to cancel most of its flights because of prevailing weather conditions. The fiasco reportedly cost JetBlue $30 million.
David Barger after a presentation in October 2010 On May 10, 2007, JetBlue announced Barger's appointment as CEO, who also retains the position of President. Neeleman, who was named non-executive Chairman of the Board, said "This is a natural evolution of our leadership structure as JetBlue continues to grow. As Chairman of the Board of Directors, I will focus on developing JetBlue's long-term vision and strategy, and how we can continue to be a preferred product in a commodity business." On July 24, 2007, JetBlue reported that its second-quarter revenue increased to $730 million, compared to $612 in 2006. Second quarter net income grew to $21 million for the quarter, from $14 million the previous year. CEO David Barger said the airline will take delivery of three fewer planes this year and will sell three planes from their current fleet, "slowing capacity growth...to strengthen our balance sheet and facilitate earnings growth", but will continue to add two to four new destinations each year. In July 2007, the airline partnered with 20th Century Fox's film "The Simpsons Movie" to become the "Official Airline of Springfield." In addition a contest was held in which the grand prize would be a trip on JetBlue to Los Angeles to attend the premiere of the film. The airline's website was also redecorated with characters and their favorite JetBlue destinations and the company was taken over by the show/film's businessman villain Montgomery Burns. In August 2007, the airline announced the addition of exclusive content from The New York Times in the form of an in-flight video magazine, conducted by Times' journalists and content from NYTimes.com. On October 11, 2007, JetBlue announced expanded service to the Caribbean with service to St. Maarten and Puerto Plata commencing January 10, 2008. With these additional destinations, JetBlue's service expanded to a total of twelve Caribbean/Atlantic destinations including Aruba; Barbados; Bermuda; Cancún; Nassau; Aguadilla, Ponce and San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Santiago and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. On November 8, 2007, JetBlue announced the appointment of Ed Barnes as interim CFO, following the resignation of former CFO John Harvey. On December 13, 2007, JetBlue and German-based Lufthansa announced their intent to sell 19% of JetBlue to Lufthansa, pending approval from US regulators. Following the acquisition, Lufthansa stated they plan to seek operational cooperation with JetBlue. Lufthansa plans to offer connections to JetBlue flights in Boston, New York (JFK), and Orlando International Airport. In the March edition of Airways Magazine, it was announced that JetBlue partnered with Yahoo! and BlackBerry producer, Research in Motion, that the airline would offer free, limited Wi-Fi capabilities on N651JB, an Airbus A320-200 dubbed "BetaBlue." People can access e-mail with a Wi-Fi capable Blackberry, or use Yahoo!'s e-mail and instant messaging with a Wi-Fi capable laptop. On March 19, 2008, JetBlue announced the addition of Orlando, Florida as a gateway focus city to international destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America. New international routes from Orlando International Airport include Cancún, Mexico, Bridgetown, Barbados, Bogotá, Colombia, Nassau, Bahamas, San José, Costa Rica and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In conjunction with the addition of new routes the airline will continue significant expansion of operations at Orlando International Airport including a planned 292-room lodge that will house trainees attending the existing "JetBlue University" training facility. On April 8, 2008, JetBlue introduced a new "Happy Jetting" brand campaign. The marketing campaign, developed in partnership with JWT New York, emphasizes competitive fares, service and complimentary onboard amenities such as free satellite television and radio, snacks and leather seats. On May 21, 2008, JetBlue named Joel Peterson chairman and Frank Sica vice chairman of its board of directors, replacing David Neeleman, who stepped down as CEO in 2007. On August 4, 2008, the Associated Press reported that JetBlue would replace their recycled pillows and blankets with an "ecofriendly" pillow and blanket package that passengers would have to purchase for use. Each package will cost $7, and will include a $5 coupon from retailer Bed, Bath and Beyond. This decision is the latest in a series of moves designed to increase revenue. JetBlue told the Associated Press that it expects to collect $40 million from passengers selecting seats with extra legroom and $20 million from passengers paying $15 to check a second bag. As of September 8, 2008 JetBlue charges passengers $10–$30 for an extended-leg-room seat depending on the length of the flight. In September 2008 JetBlue began operating Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's campaign aircraft, an E190. On October 13, 2009, the airline unveiled a modification to its livery in commemoration of the upcoming 10th anniversary of the airline in February 2010. Besides a new tail design, the revised livery includes larger "billboard" titles extending down over the passenger windows at the front of the aircraft. The logo word 'jetBlue' will no longer be silver and blue but now a dark, navy blue.
The entry hall of T5 at John F. Kennedy International Airport Main article: TWA Flight Center On October 22, 2008 JetBlue opened its new primary hub at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Terminal 5, or simply T5. The mostly new terminal, costing approximately $800 million partially encircles the historic TWA Flight Center, the former Trans World Airlines terminal designed by Eero Saarinen, which remains closed. According to the plan, passengers will eventually be able to check-in for flights in the landmark building, then transfer to the new structure via the original passenger departing-arrival tubes from Saarinen's original terminal and its 1969 addition by Roche-Dinkeloo. The first flight arrived from Bob Hope Airport (B6 #358) at 5:06 am followed by arrivals from Oakland International Airport and Long Beach Airport, respectively. The last flight to operate out of T6 was a departure to Rafael Hernández Airport in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, departing at 11:59 pm 2010s On June 16, 2010, JetBlue began selling snack boxes on Airbus A320 flights over 3 hours, 45 minutes. There are 5 options for $6 each. In March 22, 2010, JetBlue turned down incentives from the City of Orlando and announced its headquarters would keep its Forest Hills office, start leasing and using a new office in the Brewster Building in Long Island City, New York. in Queens Plaza in Long Island City, move its headquarters there in mid-2012, and start a joint branding deal with New York State using the iconic I Love NY logo. On October 14, 2010, the California Council of the Blind and three individuals with visual impairments have filed a lawsuit against JetBlue Airways in Federal Court on allegations that JetBlue's website and airport kiosks are not accessible. On October 18, 2011, JetBlue announced that Chief Financial Officer Ed Barnes had resigned effective immediately. The company's treasurer, Mark Powers, was appointed interim CFO until a replacement for Barnes could be found. On June 13, 2012, JetBlue ranked 'Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Low Cost Carriers in North America' by J.D. Power and Associates, a customer satisfaction recognition received for the eighth year in a row.