David Neeleman, founder of Jetblue started his career at the age of 29, he turned an obscure Utah charter company into one of the fastest growing airlines in the country—Morris Air, later it got sold to Southwest—he has maintained a reputation as the renowned entrepreneur in the airline business. He is best known for launching JetBlue Airways in the year 2000, Neeleman hasn’t stopped there: After leaving JetBlue in 2008, he headed south to start up Azul, a Brazilian clone of the New York carrier, complete with TV seats and leather seats. Eight years later, in 2015, he acquired close to a majority stake in TAP Air inPortugal, and began turning around the fortunes of the once-sleepy state-run flag carrier.
Now, when he is 59, Neeleman is embarking on what might be his riskiest venture yet: to build a new U.S. airline that will carve out a niche serving travelers and communities that lost out in the wave of airline consolidation. He decided to start nascent carrier, using the working name Moxy, is amassing a war chest of $100 million and has ordered a fleet of 60 Airbus A220 jets, a new type of plane that Neeleman says will allow him to keep fares low while providing good service. He is, after all, the same guy who promised to “bring humanity back to air travel” nearly 20 years ago, a pledge that drew ridicule from critics—until JetBlue proved them wrong.
You’ve started up or gotten involved in more than six airlines —and yet now, you want to launch another new airline in the U.S.? Why? What keeps on drawing you into this business?
I don’t start airlines for the sake of starting airlines. I do it because I see that there’s an opportunity. Even when I started Morris Air, there was a vacuum there in the West. When I helped start up WestJet, the Canadian airlines were consolidating. And with JetBlue, Kennedy Airport was wide open and the legacy airlines were big and bloated. Today, we are getting back to the point where there is a lot of concentration in the industry and the legacies aren’t doing a lot of flying that people really want. So we are going to try to fill that gap. If there is an opportunity, then I can build a better mousetrap and do something that others aren’t doing and can’t do.
With your new domestic airline, Moxy, you are entering a very different landscape from when you started JetBlue nearly 20 years ago. Instead of going up against, say, six or seven big network airlines, it’s now three huge network airlines that dominate the market. How are you going to meet that challenge?
True, it’s very different now. These guys are bigger and stronger, and they’re better than they were when we started JetBlue. They use technology better. And in the case of Delta, they do give good customer service, people seem to be motivated. Their planes are new. That’s not it. But because their costs have kind of crept up again, they have really become hub focused. There are a lot of cities where, if you don’t go through the hub, then you know you can’t get there nonstop. So there is an opportunity to get people there twice as fast at half the price.
News Source : cntraveler