Few companies connect with the public the way JetBlue (JBLU) has. Yet shares of the company plummeted today on earnings, even despite a 50% rise in profit. Are investors are willing to hang around for the turnaround? In an exclusive interview, the guys ask newly-minted CEO Dave Barger what’s in store for the often-beleaguered airline.
As for the quarter, Barger, who took over as CEO on May 10, says he looks at it as a “solid performance” especially on the backside of a difficult first quarter. It isn’t easy to navigate in an industry defined by skyrocketing jet fuel prices and nightmare runway delays, but Barger believes JetBlue is “positioned as well today as ever.”
But what about issues like the price war with Virgin Atlantic? It seems like Virgin has deeper pockets, Guy Adami says.
Barger says he will never be arrogant regarding new competition – and more seats in the sky mean fares will ostensibly go down. But he says JetBlue is “attacking” the West Coast market, including San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. In addition, it is building a new hub at New York’s JFK airport.
And while no airline can control all customer service issues like delays and cancellations, Barger says JetBlue strives to empathize with its passengers and is honest when it makes a mistake.
In a “first on CNBC,” Eric Bolling gives JetBlue the thumbs-up – the first airline he’s ever recommended. He believes the company is doing everything right with its hedging process and that’s reason enough to own the stock.
Pete Najarian and Guy Adami agree: this is an airline to own. But Jeff Macke is still cautious. He’s avoiding all the airlines, if for no other reason than that the nation’s flight grid is so bad that there’s only so much one company can do, no matter how good its management is.
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Trader disclosure: On July 24th 2007, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Macke Owns (JWN), Bolling Owns (BP), (T), (XOM), Gold, Silver, Copper, Platinum