The Shareholder Online The alumni magazine of Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business

Senior’s career route already planned

Joseph Young III, interning this summer at JetBlue Airways, hopes to become a route planner.

What has rising Harbert College of Business senior Joseph Young III been up to this summer as a system operations/dispatch intern at JetBlue Airways? Let’s see …

  • The Business Administration/Aviation Management major from Pensacola, Fla., is working to implement a “how to” guide for JetBlue – determining how many aircraft are available, how many spares are available, and locating the spares.
  • He’s been pulling flight data from the airlines’ thousands of flights and determining what caused delays of five minutes or less, then suggesting ways to correct the problems.
  • He’s been determining which of the company’s 600 airports in its network are feasible locations for the new Airbus A321, which is coming on board in October.
  • He’s been shadowing managers and network planners to get a better feel for how the airline industry works.
  • And, of course – he’s been flying to fun weekend locations such as Orlando, Fla., San Francisco, Las Vegas, and the Turks & Caicos Islands in the Caribbean on JetBlue’s wings.

    Young recently spent a weekend at the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean.

    Young recently spent a weekend at the Turks & Caicos Islands in the Caribbean.

“I’m not sure where I’ll be going next,” he said with a laugh. “I might go to Jamaica, Aruba or Costa Rica. Anywhere that JetBlue flies and they have an empty seat, we (JetBlue interns) can hop on.”

Young, who expects to graduate with the double degree next May, is one of 23 JetBlue College Crew at the carrier’s corporate headquarters and systems operations center in New York this summer – and has been using the 10-week session to sharpen his skills as a potential route/network planner one day for the airlines.

Joseph Young considers the systems operations center the "brain of the airline."

Young considers the systems operations center the “brain of the airline.”

“The system operations center is pretty much the brain of the airline,” he explained. “Every flight in our network is dispatched, followed, routed … all of that comes from the system operations center – every single flight. It’s this big, 12,000-square foot room with departments of crew scheduling, routing, maintenance, all of that is in one room.

“It’s really given me a true feel for an airline,” added Young, who also held internships at Continental Airlines and at the Southern Company. “From this perspective at company headquarters, you see the executive leadership team, you see the CEO, the COO, and you can interact with them. I was on the sixth floor this morning meeting with schedule planning and revenue management and that’s just something you can’t do if you’re not at headquarters. It’s given me a greater appreciation for how JetBlue operates and how airlines as a whole operate.”

Young already knows where he wants to go and has developed a flight plan how to get there.

“I see myself going to work for an airline, hopefully JetBlue,” he said. “I’ve been networking as much as I can and getting my name out there. My niche will initially probably be in revenue management and then working my way up to network planning. That’s why I’ve been networking down there with the revenue management team. The manager was giving me tips on what to do and what not to do – a way to get back here in May when I graduate.

“We only hire senior analysts in network planning, so if I come back to JetBlue next year like I hope to do I’ll probably come on as an analyst in revenue management. I would get assigned a region and I would have 10 to 15 routes – looking at the pricing on those routes and how I could maximize JetBlue’s revenue. I would ask ‘How many seats are available?’ ‘What are we charging?’ I’d work there for a couple of years and work my way up to network planning. Revenue management is really the start and you have to have a good business core – finance and economics – and understand how airlines operate.

“I apply a lot of the things I’ve learned in supply chain into everything I do here at JetBlue. When you’re talking about network planning, instead of moving boxes and trucks you’re moving people and planes within a network.”

Young explained that route planners determine where aircraft fly and schedule planners determine when.

Young explained that route planners determine where aircraft fly and schedule planners determine when they depart and arrive.

Young explained that network planning is “a big umbrella” that encompasses route planning (deciding where the airline will fly) and schedule planning (determining timetables for those flights).

“Route planners … they say ‘Hey, let’s start flying from New York to Atlanta,’” he said. “They’ll do the market research, go down to Atlanta and meet with airport management and meet with the local authorities and work out deals as far as leasing gate space and how many flights we’re going to have a day. Schedule planning … once the routes are made up they fill up the timetable. They look at what aircraft we have available and decide what times to send those aircraft there.”

Young isn’t Harbert College’s only connection to JetBlue. Auburn is one of four universities nationally involved with JetBlue in the University Gateway Program. The program provides a pathway that gives professional flight students the opportunity to land a job at a major airline early in their careers.

Young would not only recommend JetBlue’s internship program to other prospective students, but he’s excited about the future of this airline.

“Any major — any passion you have — JetBlue College Crew has a branch for that,” he said. “I recommend it specifically to aviation students because JetBlue is one of those fascinating airlines. We’re classified as a low-cost carrier, but we like to market ourselves as a value carrier. We’re a growing company with 15,000 employees and growing every day. It’s a real exciting place to grow and a real exciting place to be as an employee.”

Young said he hopes to parlay his internship at JetBlue into a career at the airlines one day.

Young said he hopes to parlay his internship at JetBlue into a career at the airlines one day.

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Joe McAdory

Joe McAdory is Communications Editor at The Raymond J. Harbert College of Business. Prior to his appointment at Auburn University in January of 2013, McAdory was Editorial Page Editor (2004 to 2013) and Sports Editor (1999-2003) at the Opelika-Auburn News. He has been recognized by the Alabama Press Association and Alabama Associated Press for his sports columns, news columns, investigative reporting and news features. He is a 1992 graduate of Auburn University.
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