David Neeleman, CEO of JetBlue Airways

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, April 12, 2002. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews. 

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: We've got the man many are already calling the brains behind this company. Certainly, when he saw the vision for it, no one else did. They may regret that now.

Joining us now from the inside of the Nasdaq marketsite, David Neeleman, the CEO of JetBlue Airways. David, welcome. Congratulations, by the way.

DAVID NEELEMAN, CEO, JETBLUE AIRWAYS: Thank you, Neil. Thank you very much.

CAVUTO: How are you making money when all of your colleagues in the airline industry are tumbling?

NEELEMAN: You know, Neil, I think it is real simple. We focus on our customers, and we take really good care of them, and we try to run as perfect as an operation as we possibly can. And if something does not go right, we communicate and do all those things that people do not like about airlines.

CAVUTO: All right. Now, David, here is what they are saying already though, your stock is a brand new stock, and already shorts out there. And they are saying higher oil prices are going to wallop you and you are more vulnerable to them than the big guys because you do not have their depth.

NEELEMAN: Well, you know, oil prices are something that the airline industry looks at. You know, we have hedges on our fuel, some. But we also have very fuel-efficient airplanes. So when the fuel goes up, it doesn't effect us as much as other airlines. And, you know, that was by design. We needed to take the volatility of our earnings.

CAVUTO: So, when you hear now that some of the others, like American and United are going to try to take advantage of your routes, especially as you expand to wider markets, do you worry about that, that all of a sudden they are going to try to squash you like a bug just as you're spreading your wings?

NEELEMAN: Well, Neil, at our fairs, in our service level, there is plenty of business for everybody. You know, the question is we can fly it profitably. And we have proven that over the last couple of years. You know, I am not sure they can do that. Their numbers don't say they can but that's fine. If you want get down to transcontinental fares at $129 and put TVs and leather seats on brand new planes and give great service, there is lots and lots of people that will travel, a lot more than are certainly traveling today.

CAVUTO: Yes, but, you know, as you know, David, the landscape is littered with carriers that started out very well with great promise and then expanded too quickly. People Express, of course, comes to mind. Midway comes to mind. Are you afraid that you are not spreading too quickly?

NEELEMAN: No, we are not, Neil. You know, we built this thing to last. And if you wanted to go each through those airlines, there was case studies written on why People Express failed. They certainly expanded with different aircraft types. They went and bought other airlines.

CAVUTO: Yes, but you have got orders for, what, better than 100 planes?

NEELEMAN: Yes, but, you know, we did not go buy other airlines, didn't start flying to Europe, didn't start doing a lot of things. This is different. Southwest has been around for over 30 years, and they have done a great job. And we have taken a lot of pages out of their book.

CAVUTO: Now, it is all the same plane too, right? So you can mix parts and keep the same type of repairs for all the models, right?

NEELEMAN: Yes, exactly right. And the efficiency of our pilots and it just goes on and on and on. We have almost 40 percent less costs than some of these other folks. So, but we do not care. You know, what we worry about is taking care of our customers every day. And if we do that, we are going to create value for this company.

CAVUTO: All right. David, again, congratulations. David Neeleman of JetBlue at Nasdaq. Thank you, David.

NEELEMAN: Thanks, Neil.

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