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Jet Blue Airways

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Case # 3

Jet Blue Airways

Discuss the trends in the U.S. airline industry and how these trends might impact a company’s strategy
Overall the US airline industry is a cut-throat business which is extremely competitive. The cliché ‘it’s a dog eat dog world’ applies perfectly here. Over the past few years the situation grew even worse due to the recession, increased unemployment, the weakened dollar exchange, and difficulty predicting how OPEC will behave month to month. The fluctuation in the oil market has a direct effect on ticket prices bought in bulk or reserved six to nine months in advance. Airline pay close attention to the oil Futures Market to make sure their purchases of fuel is hedged. Airline companies are divided into a few categories. Jet Blue is in the discount airline category, where lowering the fixed cost is an important factor. For a discount airline to offer cheaper price, services must be cut as well as the number of airports serviced. Only destinations with high volume are able to be serviced, thus a traveler may be forced to have multiple connections to reach their destination. Airplanes must be leased instead of bought to reduce the upfront cost. In-flight meals and unlimited beverages are curtailed or completely removed. The absence of complimentary cases of beer or soda cans adds to savings on gasoline as well as price per can which is factored into lowering the ticket price. Full service airlines such as Singapore and Lufthansa, cater to a different breed of traveler. Their focus is on business people and travelers who are willing to pay 200% more per ticket in exchange for superior comfort. It is very difficult to find an inexpensive ticket on such airlines, but the pampering and comfort attract customers who prefer comfort over savings. Airlines tend to use advanced computerized programs that use differential pricing and…...

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