Jet Blue Case Study
Almost all new companies are confronted with the fresh challenges in their pursuit to establish their niche, market reputation and development of procedures and processes. The question as to why one company sustains its growth in the market and other loses is significant. At the outset, the most appropriate answer would be that the successful companies have a clear mission and vision in the first place. Plus, they keep looking to employ modern-day and effective management techniques in order to yield maximum results. They also seek the presence of innovative leadership in order to have a competitive edge over others.
Given the fact that airline is the most competitive industry under the sun, JetBlues faced all the problems that a new entrant faces in the industry. It initially had difficulty in dealing and coordinating with a staff of 2500+ employees and adding approximately 5-6 new employees a day.
The impatient, inexpensive airline drifted into the market in 2000. It endured massive competition from the major airlines and also showed courage to go through the travel turmoil especially after the heinous September 11 attacks and its subsequent repercussions. Being a new company, it was the toughest tasks of all. It goes without saying that the uncertainty and anxiety loomed large over the business.
JetBlue resorted to re-define air travel by infusing the nations of humanity into it. This process entailed providing new planes with leather seats and personal televisions for each passenger. It also included never overselling flights, emphasizing the value of being on time, updating check-in and boarding procedures and more. All of these perks were given in spite of the bargain fares provided by JetBlue.
JetBlue quickly left an enormous impact on the airline industry by employing its hands-on, aggressive and unconventional approach which was reflective of the leadership style of its founder and CEO, David Neeleman.
Neeleman shaped the vision for JetBlue Airways as he had brought with himself the rich experience of working with Southwest Airlines. He opted for this new venture with the support of the David(Dave) Barger, President of JetBlue.
David and Dave, as they are known, supplied a pre-requisite vision and leadership that continue to surge throughout the organization. They established a company that saw profits when other airlines were facing loses. They yielded the profit of over $1.2 billion in revenue in 2004.
By the end of 2005, JetBlue served 35 “Blue Cities” with a fleet of 77 Airbus A320’s and an incoming fleet of the new Embraer 190’s. JetBlue was the first airline to implement paperless cockpit flight technology and to have 100% e-tickets.(Stewart, 2008)
Feeling Growing Pains
As the airline embarked on its journey of growth and development, David and Dave faced multiplied complexities. It almost became impossible for them to personally guide and direct all the important activities of the company. With the start-up commitment beginning to dwindle down, there appeared a plethora of new problems.
In the first few years, results of the employee survey suggested that employees (or rather “crewmembers” as they are dubbed at JetBlue) expressed very positive reactions and were glad with the work environment. However, in 2002, the tone of the crewmember survey changed. Specifically, the feedback suggested that there were some serious problems with leadership and teamwork.
“As in the past, we will continue to rely on our JetBlue leaders to guide our crewmembers as we delight our customers and pave new roads in air travel. It is leadership that will enable us to stay small as we grow, to continue the unique and special JetBlue experience that distinguishes us from any other
(JetBlue Airways Bluenote, 2004)