JetBlue’s Robin Hayes Discusses the Airline’s Mission of Inspiring Humanity
The Blue Review Highlights JetBlue’s Environmental, Social and Business Responsibility
A CEO leads a company’s business strategy and the same is true when it comes to integrating values into business practices. In the interview below, crewmembers including JetBlue CEO and President Robin Hayes introduce The Blue Review and discuss how JetBlue walks-the-walk of corporate social and environmental responsibility.
Sophia: Robin, too frequently values and corporate responsibility are pitched against traditional business, in juxtaposition to what makes good financial sense. Can you talk about how you see those things actually being connected?
Robin: Our values - safety, caring, integrity, passion, and fun - are what we’re about. Inspiring humanity only works if both crewmembers and customers believe it’s a truly authentic mission. Airlines, and particularly JetBlue, have to be part of each community that we serve, because our customers live there and crewmembers live there, and so the footprint of our brand in that community is very important as a test of authenticity.
Wendy: With technology changing so much about communications - for instance, the B6 Unselfie, the Fly it Forward campaign, and consumers going to social media as a soundboard - how do you see technology enhancing or changing JetBlue’s responsibility efforts?
Robin: Social media gives everyone a voice, and it allows individual customers to express opinions in a way that they’ve never had before.
Brands have played with corporate and social responsibility because they’ve felt they had to, as opposed to because they believe it to be the right thing to do. Social media is holding brands to account. I almost have to do more than I say I will, because it’s so easy for me to be held accountable if I don’t.
When I look at my kids— I’ve got two teenagers— they are definitely on social media. Corporate social responsibility is really important to them, and they make purchasing decisions based on it, and they tell their friends about the brands they favor based on it.
Wendy: Every day is different at the airport. For example, when customers are checking in, if they feel that the line’s too long, they can become vocal about it and use smartphones to capture it. There’s a fine line, because you’re still providing the customer experience, you’re still speaking to them as a person, and they have a phone filming you, saying, “I’m putting this on social media.”
So it’s a give and a take with social media.
There’s also other experiences where you get to touch the lives of customers—we have a customer who has self-disclosed that he’s autistic, and he enjoys drawing JetBlue aircraft perfectly to a T – including the tail number, the windows, you name it. He gives them to all the different crewmembers he meets, and he says, “I absolutely love JetBlue. You’ve always treated me as a person.” And that’s his gift. He’ll have a pile of these aircraft drawings, so it shows that people take that passion of JetBlue with them.
Sophia: In this Blue Review, you are going to see a lot of quotes, quips, and outtakes from social media where customers told us what they thought about how we’re living up to our values.
Robin: The airline industry actually has been at the forefront of environmental responsibility and sustainability.
It’s about connecting communities, serving the global marketplace — we have to do so responsibly, because we know airplanes create carbon dioxide emissions, so this is where technology plays a huge role.
Take, for example, the work the engine manufacturers have done to create more efficient engines. The Airbus new engine option - we have 70 of these on order - has an engine that’s 15 percent more efficient.
The FAA is leading on NextGen technology to have planes in the sky for less time, to burn less fuel, and to create fewer emissions— these are really good things.
So, the question is going to be, how can we grow and take care of our future at the same time?
Sophia: The details of everything we talked about and much more are in the Blue Review, so let us know what you think, and you can always reach us on social media.
To learn more about JetBlue’s long-term responsibility platform and to view the full report, visit www.jetblue.com/green/reporting.
JetBlue Corporate Communications
Tel: +1 718 709 3089