JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes said that he foresees a quick recovery for the airline industry following the end of the coronavirus pandemic.
Though Hayes expects a continued loss of revenue in the first quarter of 2021, he says there’s plenty of pent-up demand from travelers who have postponed trips as COVID-19 rages on.
The question is when the crippled industry will be able to see such a bounce back.
“As humans, we weren’t designed to be sort of locked down and living in our homes and working from home. That’s not who we are,” Hayes told the Associated Press on Monday. “People want to get back to a normal life. And I think the vaccine is an extremely important part of that.”
JetBlue on Monday unveiled an update to their Mint experience, which aims to offer premium travel at a lower cost than listed by competitors.
More privacy is at the center of the upgrade. Hayes says Mint passengers will each have their own suites, complete with sliding doors.
Customers will be able to take such flights between New York and Los Angeles around midyear. Flights to London are scheduled to begin a few months later.
JetBlue is also moving forward on its partnership with American Airlines, which would increase routes flown to the northeastern U.S.
Hayes seems optimistic about these new developments, but the impact of “the biggest crisis the airline industry has ever faced” is hard to set aside.
“We’ve already lost 10 crew members due to COVID at JetBlue. We’ve had a lot of our crew members who have lost family members,” he said. “Our number one priority is getting through all of this, but also making sure that JetBlue is here to when people want to start flying again.”