When a newbie airline like JetBlue Airways Corp. can turn a profit and win praise from the legendary Herbert D. Kelleher, who heads up Southwest Airlines, you know it's on to something big.
JetBlue CEO David G. Neeleman, 41, initially raised $128 million--a record for a startup airline. A devout Mormon with nine children, he started flying the low-fare, low-cost carrier out of New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport last February. Now, JetBlue is filling more than 80% of its seats, and it turned its first profit in August. No wonder Kelleher is impressed. "Keep an eye on JetBlue," he says. "That could prove to be a successful operation." Maybe even a competitor.