Wednesday, October 26, 2016

JetBlue invests in Irvine-based private jet company

JetSuiteX operates 30 seat  Cessna Citation Aircraft)

JetBlue Airways has taken a minority stake in JetSuite Inc., an Irvine, California-based private jet company that provides charter and scheduled-service flights.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

JetBlue’s investment isn’t the first time the two companies have partnered. JetSuite, which launched its charter business in 2009, is led by former JetBlue executives, including Chief Executive Alex Wilcox, who was one of JetBlue’s founding directors and the airline’s third employee.

In April, JetSuite introduced a public jet service, JetSuiteX, to provide many of the comforts usually associated with private jet travel but for the price of a traditional airline seat. In association with JetSuiteX’s launch, JetBlue partnered with JetSuite to allow members of its customer loyalty program, TrueBlue, to earn points on all JetSuiteX flights.

With its stake in JetSuite, New York-based JetBlue will name a member to JetSuite’s board of directors. In addition, the two companies said they plan to work together on offering more benefits for their customers.

"We are delighted to have JetBlue join us as a strategic partner and shareholder,” Wilcox said in a statement. “The partnership with JetBlue will allow us to accelerate our growth and we are excited to work together to deliver new and unique experiences for all JetSuite and JetBlue customers.”

“JetBlue and JetSuite share a passion for delivering a high-quality customer experience at a competitive price point in underserved markets,” JetBlue President and CEO Robin Hayes said in a statement. “Our investment in JetSuite makes sense as we continue to execute on our west coast plan and invest in innovative ideas that reflect the disruptive spirit of JetBlue.”

JetSuite said JetSuiteX, which offers short-haul public charter flights, sold by the seat, operating from private terminals, has become the fastest-growing public charter service in the country.

JetSuiteX includes perks such as no lines, the ability to check in just 15 minutes before a flight, free Wi-Fi, free checked bags, free seat assignments, free drinks and free snacks. JetSuiteX flies 30 passenger jets to and from Burbank, Calif.; Las Vegas; San Jose, Calif.; Carlsbad; Concord, Calif.; Mammoth, Calif.; and Bozeman, Mont.

(I-Chun Chen - L.A. Biz)

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