When JetBlue started flying, the airline industry was facing waning levels of customer satisfaction. Declining standards of service put off many air travelers. JetBlue brought a new model to the industry, aiming to “bring humanity back to air travel.” JetBlue emphasized extensive service training for its staff, as well as an impeccably kept modern fleet, providing passengers with creature comforts and a much-desired human element.
As a start-up with a short track record, JetBlue needed a financier that understood its business model, and recognized its potential to help finance its fleet.
Our partnership with GE facilitates our growth while allowing us to deliver the superior service that has made us great.
GE Capital's strategy
"Even as a fledgling airline, we could see their potential," said Declan Kelly, GE Capital’s relationship executive responsible for JetBlue. With almost 25 years of aviation experience—including nine as an aeronautical engineer—Declan and his team understood how JetBlue's strong brand and emphasis on service would prove to be a recipe for success. GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) recognized the value of JetBlue’s business model, and in 2003 started working with the airline.
GECAS helped finance 10 Airbus A320s for JetBlue, and as the airline started to grow, GE Capital financed another 30 Embraer E190s. These smaller aircraft allowed JetBlue to expand into new markets, growing the number of cities they serviced to 60, between 2005 and today.
Today, GE Capital is JetBlue’s largest aircraft financier. Of the airline’s 155 aircraft, GE Capital has provided over $1 billion in aircraft financing for 42 planes. Declan and his team have been with JetBlue through their growth, providing leased aircraft and fleet management expertise. As JetBlue grows, so does the relationship: GE Capital is currently working with JetBlue to add 4 additional A320s to its fleet.