Case | HBS Case Collection | October 2008 (Revised June 2011)

JetBlue Airways: Managing Growth

by Robert S. Huckman and Gary P. Pisano

Abstract

Considers the situation facing David Barger, President and CEO of JetBlue Airways, in May 2007 as he addresses the airline's need to slow its growth rate in the response to increasing fuel costs and the effects of major operational crisis for the airline in February 2007. In 2005, JetBlue-typically viewed as a low-cost carrier (LCC)-made a move that is often considered antithetical to the LCC model. Specifically, JetBlue moved from a single aircraft type (i.e., the Airbus 320, or A320) to a fleet with two types of aircraft by adding the smaller Embraer 190, or E190. Students are initially asked to consider the impact of this decision on JetBlue's operations strategy and business model. They are then asked to consider how the reductions in aircraft capacity growth should be spread across the two plane types. This discussion hinges not only on issues of aircraft efficiency but also on those of operational focus and the ultimate competitive priorities of the airline as a whole.

Keywords: Growth and Development Strategy; Growth Management; Operations; Performance Capacity; Performance Efficiency; Competitive Strategy; Air Transportation Industry;

Citation:

Huckman, Robert S., and Gary P. Pisano. "JetBlue Airways: Managing Growth." Harvard Business School Case 609-046, October 2008. (Revised June 2011.)