Discount airliner JetBlue’s fortunes have fallen as of late.
April 7, 2012– JetBlue Airways started initial public offering ten years ago this week on Nasdaq. Even though the airline industry had plunged to record losses due to the 9/11 tragedy, the carrier at the time was the envy of everyone in the airline business.
Backed by venture capitalists and hubbed strategically at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, the airline had new Airbus A320s and an incredibly loyal customers base that were attracted to its free TV and eat what you want snacks. In addition, its low costs seemed to set the stage for the industry to be reinvented.
Its stock quickly tripled and rivals like United Airlines and Delta rushed to launch low cost spinoffs, with no success. CEO and founder David Neeleman was the toast of the industry.
However, times change, Neeleman is no longer around and shares of JetBlue are 80% down from their all time high. Mishaps including a pilot’s midair meltdown have taken the luster off the airline. Passengers have been stranded on board planes for 11 hours and have seen a flight attendant sliding down an emergency shute, after berating passengers.
JetBlue is now last among a group of 15 airlines in on-time ratings and ninth in the number of customer complaints to the Transportation Department. The tables have been reversed as a consolidated industry favors larger airlines with many routes and business travelers who want things they say JetBlue lacks.