JetBlue Is In Trouble
I don’t have great confidence that management can turn things around.
Let's start with real talk. JetBlue — which is among America's more beloved airlines, despite never developing a sustainable strategy to compete with the Big Four — is in peril.
After listening to executives try to explain away their airline’s challenges during this week’s earnings call, it seems to me that management did not seriously consider that the U.S. Department of Justice could block their two plans to save the airline — its unusually close alliance with American known as the Northeast Alliance, and its proposed merger with Spirit.
Now, JetBlue is flailing. Executives won't say that, of course. To them, as their second quarter earnings release stated, this is all about "near-term headwinds." You probably have to say that as you warn investors your airline may take a loss in the third quarter.1 (The third quarter!) Granted, there are some unusual issues at play, like the wind-down of the Northeast Alliance, and JetBlue still expects a full-year profit, though less than before. I think we can all agree this is not good news.
You pay me to tell the truth, to say the things that other reporters probably know but are too afraid to write. So keep reading for my full (and honest) analysis about why JetBlue may need a shift in leadership or approach. (Or both.)