JetBlue has repaid in full a $750 million loan that it took out at the height of the pandemic in the latest sign that the U.S. aviation industry is making a far quicker recovery than anyone could have imagined.
The New York-based carrier took out the loan in June 2020 and repaid the entire sum just 12-months later with the final instalment made on June 17, 2021.
To secure the loan, jetBlue was forced to back up the debt against its lucrative take-off and landing slots at New York JFK, La Guardia and Washington National Airport. The airline even put up its intellectual property as collateral in order to secure the loan.
In the early stages of the pandemic, jetBlue got nearly $1 billion in federal payroll support, while in October 2020 the carrier also benefited from $1.4 billion in U.S. Treasury loans.
Just a month after taking out the $750 million loan with Barclays, JetBlue’s chief executive Robin Hayes warned that the airline was facing “a day of reckoning” over its money woes.
Next month, jetBlue hopes to launch its first transatlantic service between JFK and London Heathrow starting on August 11. The launch may, however, need to be delayed if US-UK travel remains stifled by pandemic travel restrictions in both directions.
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Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.