Overstepping to Germany: JetBlue CEO No-Show at Aer Lingus Event

Don’t get me wrong. I like the public relations staff at JetBlue. They usually respond fairly quickly to press requests and are all generally very pleasant. Those niceties out of the way, I have to report that confusion reigned at the carrier this morning.

None of JetBlue’s spokespeople, it seems, knew anything about a planned press briefing this morning in Dublin, where CEO Dave Barger had been scheduled to join Aer Lingus chief executive Dermot Mannion to discuss details of the two carriers’ tie-up, according to the Irish operator. (Check out the press invite below).

The briefing was cancelled after Lufthansa’s planned 19% investment was revealed. Barger was later spotted in Frankfurt at a press conference with Lufthansa chief executive Wolfgang Mayrhuber.

JetBlue says the media event with Aer Lingus was never set in stone. The invite “should never have gone out to the media”, says JetBlue. “They [Aer Lingus] overstepped their bounds.”

“We still fully intend to go forward with our codeshare partnership with Aer Lingus. The event will be scheduled when we can confirm our executive’s presence”

Needless to say, JetBlue’s statement left more questions than answers. Will the partnership really take the form of a codeshare? And why does JetBlue’s PR staff not know the location of key executives?

JetBlue later corrected its comment about the codeshare. In an emailed message, JetBlue says: “When we spoke earlier about the Aer Lingus event/no-event, I used the word ‘codeshare’ to describe our partnership. That’s incorrect. We will not be doing a traditional codeshare – EI will sell B6 flights on their website, and our flights will remain branded B6 only.”

Aer Lingus today seemed less certain of the partnership’s status. “Following the announcement by JetBlue that Lufthansa is to make a minority equity investment in JetBlue, we continue to monitor the situation and await further developments and clarification,” says Aer Lingus. “We remain optimistic that the partnership remains on track, and that we will be able to update you on progress soon.”

I can understand why the Irish operator might be a little befuddled. Join the club.

MEDIA INVITATION (PR numbers removed to protect the, um, innocent)

jetBlue CEO to visit Dublin for launch of Aer Lingus partnership

Aer Lingus is delighted to invite you to a media event to confirm details of its industryfirst
partnership with jetBlue, the leading US low fares, high frills airline.

Aer Lingus CEO Dermot Mannion and jetBlue CEO Dave Barger will host a media
event at Dublin Airport on the morning of Friday, December 14th as follows:

Part A tour of a jetBlue A320 aircraft, photos with crew and senior management

Part B media conference

Media wishing to attend either element of the event should note the following:

Part A – The jetBlue experience Arrival Time: 9.00am

Media will be invited onboard a jetBlue A320 aircraft to enjoy the jetBlue experience
first hand. Crew and senior management from both airlines will be available for photos.

Those wishing to participate in the onboard element of the day must:
- For security reasons confirm their attendance no later than 24 hours before the event

- Arrive at the DAA Customer Service Desk on the Arrivals Level with photo id (either driving licence or passport) at 9am on the day to be issued with an airside pass at the Airport Security Office and travel by bus to the aircraft on the tarmac

Part B – Media Conference Arrival Time: 10.30am

The media conference will take place at 11.30am in the Aer Lingus Gold Circle Lounge in Pier B. Media wishing to attend the media conference only must:

- For security reasons confirm their attendance no later than 24 hours before the event

- Arrive at the DAA Customer Service Desk on the Arrivals Level with photo id (either driving licence or passport) at 10.30am on the day to be issued with an airside pass at the Airport Security Office and escorted airside to the Aer Lingus Gold Circle Lounge.