JetBlue airlines was founded in 1999 by the astute business executive David Neeleman. The mission of this new airline company was to reintroduce humanity in air travel through adherence to the values: safety, integrity, caring, passion and fun, which are all encompassed in the company’s strategy: putting the customer first. Since its inception, JetBlue has relied on its lowered air-travel prices and premium quality services to pull customers. The human resource and finance departments work on cutting edge expertise and low cost structure respectively. The functional level operations are prioritized in all departments in the company to deliver customer friendly services. JetBlue has become one of the little carriers to reckon with among the U.S. airlines due to the competitive advantage created through its functional strategies. The company has benefited of late due to the contracting competition in the market, as seen in the mergers of Delta Airlines and Northwest Airlines in 2008 and United Airlines and Continental Airlines in 2010. The contracting competition has resulted in increased market share for JetBlue, among other low cost carriers. Economic depression has also made the low cost services of JetBlue attractive to individual purchaser travelers - who are the dominant customers for airlines in the country. JetBlue has several internal strengths and weaknesses. The strengths of JetBlue are as follows: the JetBlue brand is known throughout the U.S., it is the only airline to offer direct T.V., the company is committed to hiring the best employees, it offers low fares compared to major companies, it plies limited travel destinations currently, it has superior customer service, it has hired experienced former Southwest employee’s, and it has steady stock prices. Nonetheless, JetBlue suffers several internal weaknesses. The weaknesses include: Low fares, high operating expenses, costly direct T.V and internet, newness in the airlines industry, undiversified tests, lateness of expansion into the market, absence of forecast management, and higher average airborne time.
JetBlue Internal Strengths and Weaknesses
The success Jet blue has enjoyed since its inception in 1999 can be directly attributed to its internal strengths which serve to fulfill the putting the customer first mission. Similarly, the various challenges the company faces in its operations are due to its internal weaknesses.
A key internal strength of JetBlue Company is the spread of the brand name across the country. In its bid to make it-self known to customers, advertising is one strategy that has been used to spread the brand name. Presently, the company’s brand is known throughout the U.S. The company has been able to market itself nationwide through its website www.jetblue.com. In fact, the website has enabled online bookings of many of the airlines flights. Would be travelers can check out the premium services that are offered by the company (JetBlue Airline).
Being the only airline to offer direct T.V is another customer service which is internal culture strength of the JetBlue. The live T.V service to customers has enabled the company to gain competitive advantage in the airline industry (Weiss and Friesen 6). Customers would no doubt appreciate the entertainment and news the company has chosen to offer. Commitment to hiring better employees is among the strengths by the management of the company. JetBlue goes to extra lengths to hire a workforce with the right attitude and also engages in employee training activities to sharpen the effectiveness of its service delivery (Weiss and Friesen 6).
JetBlue offers low fares compared to others. Jet blue strives to keep operation costs low in order to offer reduced fares to its customers. The company has been able to achieve this by choosing to operate with Airbus A320 only; a model with large seater capacity and offers good economies of scale, in terms of lowered training costs, scheduling efficiency, and making maintenance issues simple (Weiss and Friesen 4). The current fares offered by JetBlue are way far below those of competitors.
An operational strength for JetBlue is the current limited travel destinations. The operations of JetBlue are primarily based on major metropolitan areas where there is lack of low fare presence. This strength has enabled the company to gain entry to a travel market of its own. In addition, this is a strength which offers opportunity for expansion into the international travel market.
The company enjoys a strong internal culture which encompasses its superior customer service. JetBlue has employed very effective strategic operation plan. The corporate structure of JetBlue has appropriate duty delegation, especially to the functional management level, where knowledge of the market dictates how the CEO’s decisions are implemented. The company strives too offer its customers the exact product they call for and to deliver it in friendly manner. The good manner in which the crewmembers deal with customers keep them coming back (Weiss and Friesen 7). The good customer service is confirmed by the many awards the company has received. The company has acted well to adapt a culture of sticking to its core mission.
In pursuit of its mission, JetBlue has also sought the services of the former Southwest employees. These employees have the required expertise and are very resourceful; to the success of JetBlue. In addition, steadiness of stock prices for JetBlue airlines is a key internal strength of the financial nature. This strength enables profitable stock trading which boost the financial capacity of the company.
Some of the internal weaknesses ailing JetBlue Company arise from its strategic maneuvers geared at luring customers and maintaining their loyalty. Low fares which are offered results in less money made. This in turn causes the company to pay its employees lesser amounts compared to other airlines (Weiss and Friesen 6). Low operating expenses of the company means reduced services to its customers contrary to what is offered by other airlines. The low cost operations have proved to be unsustainable as they undo to the company’s goal of offering high quality services (Carter, DiSciullo and Kalmans 4). The low cost of operations is therefore closely linked to another weakness, that is, the high ultimate cost of the direct T.V and internet offered to customers. The escalating costs from these services which define the high quality offered by the airline will eventually lead to financial stress.
The timing of entry to the market poses serious internal weaknesses to JetBlue. These weaknesses are: being still new to the industry, lack of diversification of tests, and lateness of expansion into the market. These three factors make the company to still be engulfed in uncertainty of ever succeeding in the long-term. The prospects of diversifying tests and expanding into larger markets are unlikely given the complexity of the company’s ability to merge with established airlines due to pricing differences.
Two operational internal weaknesses the company faces are lack of forecast management and higher average airborne time. JetBlue lacks forecast management since there is no appropriate management judgment on the choice of using a single kind of airplane. If the Airbus models the company exclusively relies on are to be diagnosed with any type of operational imperfections, the company would close operations. The higher airborne time without stop-over, which is a cost cutting measure (Carter, DiSciullo and Kalmans 5), is quite tedious for travelers. This internal weakness makes the company lose customers who would prefer to disembark for some time during long-distance journeys.
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