Carl Icahn gets a seat on JetBlue’s board of directors after taking a stake in the airline

A JetBlue Airways plane prepares to take off from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on January 31, 2024 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Carl Icahn won his race for the seats JetBlue Airways’ board of directors, according to a statement from the airline on Friday, just days after it disclosed a nearly 10% stake in the New York-based airline and that it was in talks for board representation there.

The two new directors are Jesse Lynn, general counsel of Icahn Enterprises, and Steven Miller, portfolio manager of Icahn Capital.

JetBlue shares rose about 4% in after-hours trading following the announcement.

The JetBlue investment is not Icahn’s first investment in the airline industry. In one of his most infamous activism campaigns, the corporate raider took TWA private in the late 1980s and the airline struggled and filed for bankruptcy.

Icahn, in disclosing his stake in JetBlue, said he believes the stock is undervalued. As of Friday’s close, JetBlue shares were down more than 19% over the past 12 months. The NYSE Arca Airline Index, which tracks the broader sector, is up about 7% over the same period.

JetBlue’s new CEO, Joanna Geraghty, took the helm Monday, and the company has appointed a pair of airline veterans to get it back on track.

“Building on our distinctive brand and unique value proposition, we are focused on delivering value to our shareholders and all our stakeholders, and we welcome the input of our new board members as we move forward with this common goal,” he Geraghty said in a statement on Friday.

JetBlue hasn’t been profitable since before the pandemic and has been cutting costs as it seeks to become more reliable after a post-Covid travel surge and stalled merger with the budget airline Spirit Airlines. A federal judge last month ruled against a combination of the two airlines, citing reduced competition.

JetBlue had argued that it needed the union to help it compete against America’s largest airlines. JetBlue and Spirit are appealing the judge’s ruling.

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