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JetBlue eyeing more international partners

JetBlue eyeing more international partners

The chief executive of JetBlue Airways Corp. said Tuesday the carrier will seek out more international partners, as it looks for ways to attract new customers without hefty investments.
Speaking at the JPMorgan Aviation & Transportation Conference, CEO Dave Barger said he is "quite optimistic" the company can form new international partnerships and begin to "take advantage of the global landscape."
JetBlue recently entered a strategic alliance with Irish carrier Aer Lingus that allows passengers to fly on the same ticket using both carriers' networks. It has similar partnerships with minority stake holder Lufthansa Airlines and Lufthansa-owned Swiss Airlines.
Barger also said he would consider joining a major airline cooperative, such as the Star Alliance, of which Lufthansa is a member. But Barger added he doesn't feel joining a major airline alliance is necessary to expand the carrier's footprint abroad.
Domestically, the company seems keenly focused on defending its bi-coastal business. Barger said the company is keeping a close watch on the growing presence of rival Virgin America, which launched in 2007. British billionaire Richard Brandon's Virgin Group is a minority holder in Virgin America.
"(Transcontinental routes) are core to this company and we are going to defend them," Barger said.
But Barger added that JetBlue's North-South routes remain a priority as well. He said that trips from JetBlue's home base at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to Florida _ jokingly referred to as "New York City's sixth borough" _ remain "quite recession resilient."
On domestic transcontinental flights, Barger said JetBlue is considering offering food for sale as another way to boost ancillary revenue. The company has tested the service on several flights already, and said it is another way it can boost sales without "sticking it to customers."
"We're ruthlessly focused on ancillary revenue, but we're not out there to discourage the customer," Barger said. "We're out there to offer improved service."
JetBlue charges customers for things like extra legroom, pillow kits and a second checked bag, but doesn't charge for the first checked bag like some larger domestic carriers.
Shares of JetBlue closed Tuesday up 12.8 percent, or 39 cents, to end at $3.45.


Updated : 2020-12-02 12:23 GMT+08:00