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Jet Blue Airlines: Company’s Challenges Case Study

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Updated: Oct 10th, 2020


JetBlue Airways has succeeded despite the challenges affecting different companies in the sector. The airline’s strategy was to combine innovation and information technology with common sense to “bring humanity back to air travel” (Gittell & O’Reilly, 2001, p. 2). The founder, David Neeleman, wanted to create a firm that focused on customer advocacy and positive employees’ experiences. A revolutionary model characterized by e-ticketing and information technology (IT) in aircraft maintenance made the company successful. This paper explains how such best practices have led to the firm’s exemplary performance. The discussion describes how JetBlue can address every emerging hurdle as it plans to grow.

Best Practices and Key Concerns

JetBlue’s founder was ambitious, innovative, aggressive, and restless when it came to innovation. His experience with dry cleaners heartened him to think of a new model for his airline. Several good practices were devised to support the company’s model. The first one was the application of modern technology to offer superior services. Neeleman wanted to “leverage technology for safety and efficiency and with a commitment to people” (Gittell & O’Reilly, 2001, p. 3). Other best practices included acquiring new aircraft and hiring individuals who could support its strategy.

Additionally, the human resources (HR) practices embraced at the company were different from the ones applied elsewhere. The use of modern technology added value to both the workers and the customers. Low fares, positive working environments, rewards, and superior services defined the company’s image. These practices were critical to the firm’s growth and performance.

Although the case study presents several strategies that led to profitability, the firm appears to face a major concern or predicament. The biggest issue is how the airline can maintain its admirable HR and business practices without jeopardizing its business growth objectives (Gittell & O’Reilly, 2001). Rhoades wonders how such targets will be realized while at the same time, remaining flexible and productive.

Root Causes of the Issues

The above best practices did not just happen automatically at JetBlue. Its founder began by scanning the unique challenges that affected existing airlines. Neeleman followed a spectacular path to achieve every targeted objective. For instance, he focused on purchasing instead of leasing planes (Gittell & O’Reilly, 2001). The firm also attracted the right marketing executives from existing firms such as Virgin Atlantic.

A virtual team was developed whereby leaders lived in different locations. The strategy could not disrupt the lives and families of the workers. Another key decision was to identify the best location for the airline. Al Spain, the Flight Operations, was charismatic and focused on greater goals. The technology was embraced to support every function at JetBlue (Gittell & O’Reilly, 2001).

Hiring processes focused on the values outlined by the company. Issues such as cultural fit were considered throughout the process. Orientation was done to ensure the employees supported the firm’s model. Issues such as productivity, safety, customer-oriented services, and drug use were frequently analyzed. Communication was embraced and encouraged by different leaders. The idea of equity was also taken seriously at JetBlue. The employees became empowered and willing to make their experiences much better. The approach resulted in “packages that were above the industry standard” (Gittell & O’Reilly, 2001, p. 10). Such initiatives made it possible for JetBlue to succeed.

Situational Opportunities

The airline’s CEO and president attracted different professionals from the industry to ensure things were done appropriately. These leaders implemented a new strategy to empower their workers. Appropriate roles and distinctions were outlined by these managers. Ann Rhoades implemented a new approach whereby the organization applied evidence-based approaches to care for people. The team capitalized on values instead of financial objectives. These values included caring, fun, passion, safety, and integrity (Gittell & O’Reilly, 2001).

The value-based airline was able to hire the right people and empower them to achieve their career development goals. The move to use technology and identify some of the malpractices in the industry empowered JetBlue’s leaders to develop a good model (Hassan, 2016). The corporation’s values, effective hiring processes, and HR practices led to the establishment of a valuable approach.

Guiding Principles: Recommendations

The current concern is how the company will continue to pursue its goals. The firm’s business model should be utilized as a powerful guiding principle. It is evident that the use of different values and technological applications has proved to be effective. The airline’s hiring process should be supported while at the same time focusing on the emerging needs of different customers. The changing economic times should be analyzed to identify new locations for the growing firm (Hassan, 2016).

The best advice is for the airline’s managers to continue supporting the current organizational model. Additionally, new changes informed by the expectations or needs of different customers should be executed at the firm. Another recommendation is for the firm to utilize social media networks and apps to attract more customers (Trivedi & Raval, 2015).


JetBlue’s business plan has delivered consequential results within a short duration. The above recommendations will, therefore, support the airline’s current paperless model. The existing strategies should also be assessed and improved depending on the changing needs of every stakeholder. The initiatives will address the major concern raised by Rhoades as the firm plans to pursue its aims.


Gittell, J. H., & O’Reilly, C. (2001). JetBlue Airways: Starting from scratch. HBS No. 9-801-354. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.

Hassan, S. (2016). Impact of HRM practices on employee’s performance. International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, 6(1), 15-22. Web.

Trivedi, S., & Raval, D. (2015). International Journal of Advance Research in Computer Science and Management Studies, 3(6), 314-323. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Jet Blue Airlines: Company's Challenges." October 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/jet-blue-airlines-companys-challenges/.


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