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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 February 2007, 21:27 GMT
JetBlue vows to win back custom
JetBlue passengers stranded at New York's JFK airport
An estimated 130,000 passengers were hit by the delays
Budget US airline JetBlue has launched a customer bill of rights in a bid to win back customers after a series of costly flight cancellations.

Under the charter, it has vowed to issue vouchers to compensate people hit by delays for anything from $25 to the full cost of their ticket.

The news came after the firm was forced to cancel 1,096 flights after a snow storm last week.

JetBlue added it would cost $30m (15m) or more to reimburse those affected.

"It's going to be very expensive. I don't have the final number, but it's going to be maybe $20 million or $30 million and maybe a little bit higher," chief executive David Neeleman told NBC television.

More than 100,000 people were hit by the cancellations over the past six days.

Delays and cancellations also led to a surge in passenger complaints while they also led to many of pilots and flight crews being stranded away from where they were needed.

'No plan'

The firm admitted that its problems were not only caused by severe weather but also by the fact that it had no alternative plan of action in place to reroute so many stranded flight crews.

"What we did was wrong and we didn't have a plan," Mr Neeleman said.

But he did add that the company was working aggressively to resolve its problems - including putting together a reserve group of staff in the New York area to cope with any future crisis.

Passengers and Wall Street analysts were critical of JetBlue, but hopeful the setback would lead to improvement.

Meanwhile, analysts warned that the recent crisis - the worst in its eight-year history - would hit its bottom line prompting experts to cut their earnings forecasts for the firm.

As a result shares in the group fell 4.9% to $12.90 on the Nasdaq in afternoon trading.

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