JetBlue Airways Corporation (NASDAQ: JBLU) is probably going to come out of this crazy pilot scandal OK. That is what shares are indicating with a gain of nearly 2%. In something almost unprecedented, a captain’s freak-out session is something that you would expect to read about in the tabloids rather than in financial news.
CNBC reported that the airline has now formally suspended the pilot whose erratic ranting caused the plane from New York to Las Vegas to be diverted. The pilot was said to have been a pilot with the airline going back to the year 2000.
The removal of active duty and suspension is the first step that the airline will take. Without knowing the specifics of labor laws specific to pilots, this captain’s flying days are over. Whatever the medical condition was other than the pilot being slipped a dose of LSD without his knowledge, the FAA probably has the right (and duty) to make sure that the pilot never flies again.
As far as JetBlue is concerned, unless this turns into a scandal where testing and evaluation of pilots is not done at all, the airline should probably not have much negative impact on this incident. It is probably safe to assume that some passengers who were on that plane will sue (individually or collectively) for stress after worrying that the plane was suddenly at-risk.
Having a passenger mental breakdown is one thing. Having a pilot’s mental breakdown is another thing entirely.
JetBlue shares are trading up nearly 2% at $5.15 and the 52-week trading range is $3.40 to $6.45.
JON C. OGG