Tag Archives: David Neeleman

NPR Podcast: How David Neeleman built JetBlue

In the mid-1990s David Neeleman felt there was a need for a different kind of airline and the concept for JetBlue Airways was born.

Read the full article and listen to the podcast.

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Why is David Neeleman buying a controlling share of problem-plagued TAP Portugal?

David Neeleman, the airline entrepreneur who was involved with running Morris Air (Salt Lake City) with June Morris before he founded NewAir (later JetBlue Airways) (New York) and later Azul Brazilian Airlines (Sao Paulo), has struck out again with a new airline venture. This time he is not creating something new but buying into something old.

TAP Portugal logo-1

 

Neeleman lead an investment group which has been selected by the state of Portugal to acquire their controlling share in troubled flag carrier TAP Portugal (Lisbon) for €348 million ($391 million), outbidding investor German Efromovich. Besides running Azul, he will now be running trouble-plagued TAP Portugal. His group will control 61 percent of the stock of TAP Portugal. Neeleman’s group will upgrade the carrier with new aircraft (probably new Embraers for the European routes).

TAP Portugal is also likely to receive a new makeover with the new ownership group, possibly with a new blue theme.

Read the full report from Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Portugal is the mother country of Brazil. The ties are strong. Both countries speak the same language and the traffic patterns are strong between Brazil and Portugal. The Azul-TAP alliance will now compete against TAM and the LATAM Airlines Group which wants to increase the number of flights between Brazil and Europe. The battle lines are being drawn in Brazil.

For Neeleman, his Brazilian roots are deep. According to Wikipedia, Neeleman was born in São Paulo, Brazil, but raised in Miami. He lived in Brazil until he was five. He later attended Brighton High School in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, and attended the University of Utah for three years before dropping out. He served on a religious mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Mormons) in the Northeast Region of Brazil.

JetBlue logo-2

 

After starting JetBlue Airways, CEO David Neeleman on May 10, 2007 was forced out and replaced by David Barger.

Neeleman headed south, back to his original roots. On March 27, 2008 Neeleman officially announced plans to launch a new airline, Azul (Portuguese for “blue”). Azul is now Brazil’s third largest airline and it is expanding internationally.

Azul logo

Also according to Wikipedia, Neeleman lives with his family in New Canaan, Connecticut, United States. He is the father of nine children. In 2000, he disclosed to CNBC that he has adult attention-deficit disorder (see the video above).

When Azul expanded to the United States it picked two cities that are big on the JetBlue Airways route map – Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and Orlando, Florida. The ties between Azul and Neeleman’s old JetBlue Airways remain strong.

JetBlue has considered larger aircraft and longer-range routes to Latin America in the past. In essence, Azul is now filling this void (at least to Brazil) with its newly-acquired Airbus A330s.

It is very likely that Neeleman has much bigger plans in mind. The synergy between Brazil (and Latin America), North America and Europe are strong. For Neeleman, he now has the European piece in place once he solves the problems plaguing the flag carrier of Portugal. He also has remaining ties to the North American airline he founded – JetBlue Airways. Are the three the future base of a much larger airline alliance?

For JetBlue, their strategy is to make airline friends with any international carrier that has the potential of code sharing at their point of entry into the United States. They have successfully carved out a niche feeding international airlines especially at New York (JFK), Orlando and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood. This strategy has recently put them at odds with the “Big Three” (American, Delta and United) over the on-going Open Skies dispute with the “Gulf Big Three” (Emirates, Etihad and Qatar). Due to their stance, their ties with the Gulf Big Three are likely to expand. Will Qatar Airways leave the oneworld alliance for JetBlue?

There is a lot of potential for a future Azul-TAP Portugal-JetBlue alliance although JetBlue is unlikely to do anything that would upset any relationship it has.

For David Neeleman, this is only the beginning.

Video: GE Capital. David Neeleman on Leadership and Innovation.

 

 

JetBlue’s CEO Dave Barger fires back at Wall Street analysts

JetBlue Airways‘ (New York) current CEO, Dave Barger, who succeeded founder David Neeleman, is facing a possible firing by the company’s board of directors. According to this article by Bloomberg Businessweek, Dave came out firing against the Wall Street analysts who have been calling for his ouster with this statement in an interview;

“You want to compare my track record to bankruptcies and layoffs?” asked Barger, referring to the Chapter 11 restructurings of Delta (DAL), United (UAL), and American (AAL) and the subsequent mergers that radically reshaped all three. “Go ahead. I’ll take that comparison.”

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Profile on David Barger (from JetBlue Airways):

David Barger is our Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors. He joined our board in September 2001 and served as our President from August 1998-September 2007. Between 1998 and 2007, Mr. Barger also served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer. From 1992 to 1998, Mr. Barger served in various management positions with Continental Airlines, including Vice President, Newark hub. He held various director level positions at Continental Airlines from 1988 to 1995. From 1982 to 1988, Mr. Barger served in various positions with New York Air, including Director of Stations. Mr. Barger attended the University of Michigan.

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N571JB (msn 2125) in the Blueberries motif lands at the focus city of Long Beach.

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Dave Barger.

JetBlue CEO Dave Barger

Video: Dave Barger and Airlines of America calling for a national policy for airlines.

Bloomberg Businessweek: 6 reasons why JetBlue’s CEO Dave Barger will leave in February

JetBlue Airways‘ (New York) CEO Dave Barger, 56, who succeeded David Neeleman (who then started Azul in Brazil), is facing the end of his contract in February 2015. Will he stay or leave?

This article by Bloomberg Businessweek offers six reasons why Dave won’t probably stick around.

Read the article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornblom/AirlinersGallery.com. Most U.S. carriers are doing quite well. The board, representing the stockholders, will probably be looking for a change at the top to expand JetBlue. JetBlue is a narrow-body airline which restricts its growth and also the range of the airline. One “surprise” Dave could be ready to unveil is the addition of Airbus A330s for long range routes to South America and other places. Will this save Dave in time? Airbus A320-232 N599JB (msn 2336) in the Plaid tail design is seen on the ramp at the focus city of Long Beach, California.

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

David Neeleman to bring Azul to the United States with Airbus A330-200s and new A350-900s

Azul A330-200 and A350-900 (Azul)(LR)

Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras S. A. (Azul Brazilian Airlines) (Sao Paulo), founded by David Neeleman of JetBlue Airways (New York) and Morris Air (Salt Lake City), is coming back to the United States (in a way).

The fast growing airline has ordered a new fleet of Airbus A330-200 and A350-900 aircraft for daily service
to and from United States gateways.

Azul expects to debut its first international flights by early 2015. The U.S. flights will be served from Azul’s brand new $1.5 billion terminal at Sao Paulo (Campinas), strategically located 50 minutes from downtown Sao Paulo.

Campinas is Brazil’s largest airline hub offering connections to 104 domestic cities. Azul’s U.S. gateways will be announced later this year.

Routes from Campinas Airport:

Azul 4.2014 Campinas Airport (Azul)(LR)

Azul will operate the new international routes with a fleet of 11 wide-body Airbus aircraft. The airline has ordered five Airbus A350-900 with deliveries beginning in early 2017. In addition, six Airbus A330-200 will be used to launch service in early 2015. The new aircraft will be leased from ILFC and will be equipped with Rolls-Royce engines. Azul’s fleet currently comprises of 80 Embraer and 56 ATR aircraft.

With less than six years of operations, Azul already has flown more than 85 million customers and changed the face of air travel in the Brazilian market since its first flight, on December 15, 2008.

The foundation of the airline was built around the Brazilian made Embraer E-jet. From that foundation, Azul has expanded to 880 daily flights, which represents one-third of Brazil’s daily departures. The airline currently operates a fleet of 136 aircraft and employs more than 10.000 people.

Azul: AG Slide Show