The network ace who left JetBlue for Delta is now... working for American
Scott Laurence has had a wild beginning to 2022.
It started in mid-January when the 14-year veteran from JetBlue Airways departed the New York-based airline for a flashy new job at Delta.
Laurence would become the new vice president of network planning for Delta, responsible for strengthening the airline’s network and joint venture partnerships, with a focus on long-term growth opportunities.
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But, that move was short-lived, to say the least. Nearly a month after starting his role at Delta, Laurence already started packing his bags during the week of Feb. 14.
Since then, aviation observers and industry insiders have been wondering where this long-time executive has landed.
And the answer is American Airlines, as confirmed by a carrier spokesperson to TPG.
Laurence is joining the Fort Worth-based carrier in a new role created especially for him. He's heading up a team that oversees oneworld partnerships, cobrand (not to be confused with loyalty) and NDC, or new distribution capability, which is an industry technology that lets airlines better sell and market their products.
Laurence will report directly to Vasu Raja, American's chief commercial officer, when he starts his new job in the coming days.
While executives at all levels frequently move between airlines, this latest move on Laurence's part is especially interesting. That's because, during his tenure at JetBlue, he's perhaps best known as one of the architects of the Northeast Alliance with American Airlines.
And now, the same executive who spearheaded the Northeast Alliance at JetBlue is jumping to American after a brief four-week stint at Delta.
When Laurence moved to Delta, he brought with him extensive knowledge of the partnership, which had become a major competitive thorn in Delta's side. Delta likely won’t find someone with better knowledge of the current demand, competition and opportunity in the Northeast region than Laurence.
Now that Laurence is working for American, it only adds to what questions regulators might have as they proceed with their case against the Northeast Alliance.
It was in September that the Department of Justice filed an anti-trust lawsuit against American and JetBlue, accusing them of anti-competitive practices within the Northeast Alliance. The alliance was first approved during the waning days of the Trump administration.
American and JetBlue have vociferously defended the partnership, arguing that it fosters competition by allowing them to go up against Delta and United in the Northeast, where American largely ceded market share in past decades and JetBlue has too small of a network and too little access to slots to manage alone.
Now, it'll be interesting to see how Laurence’s moving to American might sit with the feds, though it’s worth noting it doesn't appear that Laurence will be working with network planning, nor with the Northeast Alliance teams – which are among the key areas of concern raised by Justice.
Additional reporting by David Slotnick.