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Jet Blue Airlines News in December 2007

Jet Blue News in December 2007
Jet Blue to operate between Fort Lauderdale and Aguadilla (Puerto Rico)

Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation: Jet Blue Airways announced plans to launch a new daily Fort Lauderdale-Aguadilla (Puerto Rico) service, from 15-Feb-08. With the addition of this new service to Aguadilla, Jet Blue will offer as many as 45 weekly services between its Fort Lauderdale focus city and 15 destinations across the United States and Puerto Rico. JetBlue also offers more services to Puerto Rico and the Caribbean/Atlantic region than any other LCC.

"We view Jet Blue's new service between Fort Lauderdale and Aguadilla to be a smart business move, consistent with the airline's record as an industry leader in market analysis and in passenger satisfaction and service," said Terestella Gonzalez Denton, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.

"Last year alone, approximately 5.7 million people traveled through one of Puerto Rico's international airports. Among the regions of Puerto Rico that have experienced the highest growth in passenger traffic is the Porta del Sol on the west side of the island. We attribute this success to the region's amazing tourist attractions, its proximity to the mainland, and the recent improvements made to Aguadilla's airport facilities, which in turn enhance passenger and cargo capabilities."

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Jet Blue applauds capacity enhancements announced by DOT/FAA

Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation: Jet Blue Airways applauded the Department of Transportation and the FAA for their announcement of capacity enhancements at JFK and the entire New York region. These capacity enhancements, designed to reduce congestion and delays and to improve on-time performance at New York City's airports, will “surely yield positive results for Jet Blue customers in 2008”.

"We applaud the DOT and FAA's actions to address congestion and enhance capacity at JFK," said Dave Barger, Jet Blue's CEO. "These capacity enhancements coupled with the regrettable, but necessary, temporary hourly caps on operations will greatly improve Jet Blue's operational reliability for the benefit of our customers. The true solution to alleviating congestion at JFK is enhancing capacity and this cannot be overstated. We look forward to continue working with the DOT/FAA on this important effort."

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Jet Blue and Cape Air add service to Vermont's Killington Region

Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation: Jet Blue Airways has expanded its marketing partnership with Cape Air at Boston Logan International Airport to include new codeshare service to Rutland, Vermont. Together, JetBlue and Cape Air provide the only commercial airline service to Vermont's popular Killington region.

Through the Jet Blue-Cape Air alliance, JetBlue has placed its code on flights operated by Cape Air to/from the Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport, making it possible for customers to book travel on a single itinerary between Rutland and 15 domestic destinations that connect through Jet Blue's Boston focus city, including New York/JFK, Washington/Dulles, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Las Vegas, Seattle, Oakland and Los Angeles/Long Beach. Since Mar-07, the two airlines have provided joint service to Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Provincetown, and Hyannis.

"Vermonters have been ardent supporters of Jet Blue since we first launched low-fare service to their state in 2000. Today we're thrilled to be adding even more travel options for them through our partner, Cape Air," said Jet Blue CEO Dave Barger. "With Jet Blue and Cape Air, you can check in for your flight in Rutland, forget about your bags or the hassles of connecting to another airline, and end up in California, Florida, or anywhere in between -- it doesn't get easier or more affordable."

"Saying that we are ecstatic about this new alliance would be an understatement," said Tom Donahue, Executive Vice President and CEO of the Rutland Chamber of Commerce. "When flying throughout the country, the Jet Blue-Cape Air service to and from Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport makes us not only a viable option, but a highly desirable one."

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Lufthansa’s Jet Blue equity investment - up to 19% stake for USD7.27/share

Jet Blue and Lufthansa announced an investment agreement for Deutsche Lufthansa to make a minority equity investment in Jet Blue Airways Corporation. This transaction represents the first significant investment by a European airline in a US point-to-point airline. Lufthansa will purchase approximately 42 million newly-issued common shares of Jet Blue in a private placement. That accounts for 19% of Jet Blue's equity after giving effect to the issuance Lufthansa is acquiring the shares at a price of USD7.27 per share, or a total investment in Jet blue of approximately USD300 million, representing approximately a 16% premium to the closing price of USD6.25 on 12-Dec-07.

"We are very pleased to become an investor in Jet Blue," said Lufthansa Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Mayrhuber. "Our investment reflects the confidence we have in Jet Blue's quality, growth potential and management team. This investment presents Lufthansa with a compelling opportunity to invest in the US point-to-point carrier market as the industry continues to evolve. The transaction links two airlines with international reputations for quality, innovation and a service culture."

The agreement provides that a Lufthansa nominee will be appointed to the Board of Directors upon the closing of the transaction. The Lufthansa nominee will be a Class II Director and will be up for election at Jet Blue's annual meeting in 2008. "We welcome this significant endorsement of Jet Blue's franchise from one of the most respected leaders in global aviation," said Dave Barger, JetBlue's CEO. "The agreement reaffirms our belief in Jet Blue's disciplined growth plan and will also improve our balance sheet and give us greater financial flexibility as we move into 2008."

Both airlines also “look forward to exploring potential opportunities for further cooperation” for the benefit of their customers. No specific areas of potential cooperation have been agreed upon. Jet Blue shareholder approval is not required in connection with the transaction, which is subject to regulatory review and approval, and is expected to close in 1Q08. ***

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Jet Blue Airways joins with LiveTV, Yahoo and RIM to become first US domestic carrier to provide free in-flight connectivity

Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation: Jet Blue Airways, partnering with Yahoo, Research In Motion and LiveTV, on 11-Dec-07, became the first US domestic carrier to provide complimentary in-flight e-mail and instant messaging services, starting with BetaBlue, the airline's first A320 aircraft equipped with an onboard wireless network.

BetaBlue, the airline's exclusive trial aircraft for LiveTV products, enables customers to send and receive e-mail and instant messages using in-flight versions of Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Messenger. Additionally, fliers with Wi-Fi enabled smartphones from RIM, such as the new Wi-Fi enabled BlackBerry 8820 or BlackBerry Curve 8320, will be able to access their BlackBerry e-mail and instant messages.

"Jet Blue continues to innovate when it comes to the customer experience, from being the first airline to offer every customer their own television with 36 channels of free entertainment, to today's introduction of free in-flight mail and messaging services," said Dave Barger, JetBlue Airways CEO. "We are thrilled to be the first to offer in-flight connectivity to today's domestic flier, keeping our customers connected to work and loved ones in the air by providing unique, simple and FREE Wi-Fi services from Yahoo! and BlackBerry. We look forward to continued enhancements of the Jet Blue Experience as LiveTV's inventive products rapidly evolve." ***

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Jet Blue to test limited in-flight net

(XFN Asia) Jet Blue Airways will start offering limited e-mail and instant messaging services for free on one of its aircraft this week, as airlines renew efforts to offer in-flight Internet access.

General Web surfing and e-mail attachments will not be permitted due to bandwidth constraints, and services on laptops and handhelds with Wi-Fi wireless access will be limited to e-mail and messaging from Yahoo Inc. Passengers can check other personal and work e-mail -- but only on two BlackBerry models that have Wi-Fi wireless capabilities, under an agreement with BlackBerry maker, Research In Motion Ltd.

The Jet Blue system is scheduled to make its debut on 11-Dec-07 on Flight 641 from New York to San Francisco. The aircraft, an A320, is specially designated "BetaBlue" as it is used to test new entertainment services offered through Jet Blue's subsidiary, LiveTV.

Jet Blue will be using a wireless spectrum that LiveTV purchased from the Federal Communications Commission last year for USD7 million. Because Internet access will use Wi-Fi and not cellular signals, the company said, it does not violate federal regulations.

Brett Muney, Jet Blue's General Manager for Product Development, said the airline received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration to use the system on A320 aircraft. Use of laptops and BlackBerry devices will still be barred during takeoff and landing. And the cellular portion of the permitted BlackBerry devices, the 8820 and the Curve 8320, must be turned off during the flight.

Glenn Fleishman, editor of the Wi-Fi Networking News site, said he knew of no commercial airline currently offering such services, though many will start debuting them next year. Some international carriers had started offering in-flight Internet service through Boeing, but the aircraft manufacturer decided about a year ago to pull the plug on its Connexion service after it failed to sign on enough airlines.

First announced in Apr-00, Connexion suffered a major setback with potential US airlines after the 2001 terrorist attacks triggered an industry wide downturn. Boeing had agreements with major international carriers, such as Lufthansa, Japan Airlines Corp, Korean Air, and Singapore Airlines, but large US carriers were reluctant to invest in the service.

The Boeing system was connected to the Internet via satellites. The Jet Blue system will use about 100 ground towers, cheaper to operate, but with less capacity. Brad Garlinghouse, Yahoo's Senior Vice President for Communications and Communities, said the company built special, lightweight versions of its services to work on Jet Blue.

Chris McGinnis, Editor of Expedia Travel Trendwatch, said business travellers in particular would want in-flight access. He said the restriction to Yahoo e-mail could limit the system's usefulness, but passengers can always forward their corporate e-mail to a Yahoo account when traveling.
"If they can at least get access to e-mail, it would take care of a lot of the demand," he said.

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