David Neeleman, JetBlue CEO

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, July 24, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Get rid of Saddam and his sons and people start flying again? That is what Boeing (search) chief Phil Condit (search) is saying.


PHIL CONDIT, BOEING CHAIRMAN & CEO: I think the markets in particular really dislike uncertainty, and, clearly, as long as [Uday and Qusay Hussein (search)] were out there, that brought uncertainty to the future. This removes one element of uncertainty, and I see that as a positive.

CAVUTO: As the top chief executive in your own right, Phil, do you think that if Saddam himself was captured and/or killed, that that would just be icing on the cake?

CONDIT: I think it would be another real positive. I think that would add another real positive element to what we're seeing.


If Condit is right, my next guest is an even happier man. David Neeleman (search) runs JetBlue. It's one of the handful of airlines making money these days on a percentage basis, though his is the most impressive. JetBlue (search) saw its sales surge 64 percent in just the latest quarter.

David, good to see you.

DAVID NEELEMAN, JETBLUE CEO: Good to see you, Neil.

CAVUTO: Is Phil Condit right? That, in other words, it's a bit of a drag but we'll ultimately see it if the world perceives the world safer?

NEELEMAN: Yes, I think so. There are so many uncertainties out there that you get rid of one and another one pops up. I think overall we're so positive about our business going forward. We don't know if this summer is just an aberration of pent- up demand of because of the war or if it's a real shift in travel — if it's something cyclical instead of just seasonal.

But I think what's for sure is that we'll continue to do well even during bad times because we have a better product and we have lower costs than everybody else.

CAVUTO: And you have a lot of new planes. You just got a lot more new planes, a 100-aircraft order from Embraer (search). Where are you going with this? How far are you expanding with this?

NEELEMAN: We've have 290 airplanes by 2011, and we have 45 today. So that will give you kind of an indication that we're going to grow. The cool thing about the Embraer planes is they allow us to go into markets that are just absolutely getting slaughtered with high fares.

CAVUTO: Do you worry, though, that the growth is too much? There are many in your industry, as you know, that took on more than they could chew and learned to regret it.

NEELEMAN: No, I think the two things you worry about growth is, A, can your revenues keep up. And we're not worried about that. Our revenues have proven that people want to fly on JetBlue.

The second thing is operationally can you continue to have the JetBlue experience, can people walk on the airplane and feel the same way today as they do with 40 — 5,400 people as they will with 20,000.

And that's what we are obsessed with. We work on that every single day, just keep our culture and growing it.

CAVUTO: But now will all these major carriers have their regional carriers and their specific sort of spinoffs for this sort of activity to go after you. So far, they've not succeeded, but, to be fair, they haven't gotten entrenched yet. If they do, are you worried?

NEELEMAN: I'm not, Neil, because the storm clouds behind us were really bad. We went through very, very difficult times. This is our 10th consecutive quarter of profitability.

CAVUTO: You feel it's over with now?

NEELEMAN: No, it's not over. We're going to have peaks and valleys, but that's why you run a better company. That's why you have better people working for you. That's why you lower costs. That's why you have the best products, so you can go through these things.

And it's easy to talk about. I mean, Delta was talking about TVs this year. Now it's next year. Who knows? It's easy to talk about.

CAVUTO: All right. David Neeleman, JetBlue's CEO.

Thank you.

NEELEMAN: Thank you.

CAVUTO: Good seeing you again.

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