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NPV: The Battle for Logan Airport: American Airlines versus JetBlue (A) Net Present Value Case Analysis
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The Battle for Logan Airport: American Airlines versus JetBlue (A) Net Present Value (NPV) / MBA Resources

Introduction to Net Present Value (NPV) - What is Net Present Value (NPV) ? How it impacts financial decisions regarding project management?

NPV solution for The Battle for Logan Airport: American Airlines versus JetBlue (A) case study


At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. The Battle for Logan Airport: American Airlines versus JetBlue (A) case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Ming-Jer Chen, Jason Anderson, Patrick Mueller, Jeff Tolonen. The The Battle for Logan Airport: American Airlines versus JetBlue (A) (referred as “Jetblue Airlines” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Strategy & Execution. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, .

The net present value (NPV) of an investment proposal is the present value of the proposal’s net cash flows less the proposal’s initial cash outflow. If a project’s NPV is greater than or equal to zero, the project should be accepted.

NPV = Present Value of Future Cash Flows LESS Project’s Initial Investment




Case Description of The Battle for Logan Airport: American Airlines versus JetBlue (A) Case Study


JetBlue will begin flying out of Boston's Logan Airport-and American Airlines was feeling the heat. JetBlue was growing eight times faster than Southwest Airlines, the longtime leader among low-cost carriers, and the rapidly expanding low-cost segment of the industry-30% of all U.S. flights, projected to rise to 40% by 2006-presented an increasing challenge to the "major" airlines. For American, JetBlue's entrance into Boston via Logan signaled a moment of reckoning. Should the airline opt for a standard competitive response, such as price reductions and frequent flyer programs? Should it take on JetBlue at Logan only, or across all the markets where it would compete with the low-cost challenger? American must weigh the importance of the Boston market in its overall economic picture and the potential responses of other airlines to whatever action it takes. This case reviews the economic conditions affecting the airline industry; the business models of three main types of airlines-major, low-cost, and regional-and their strengths and vulnerabilities in terms of recent competitive market conditions. The B case involves American's counter-attack and the C case the responses of other airlines and JetBlue, including an examination of the resulting financial and market costs and benefits.


Case Authors : Ming-Jer Chen, Jason Anderson, Patrick Mueller, Jeff Tolonen

Topic : Strategy & Execution

Related Areas :




Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for The Battle for Logan Airport: American Airlines versus JetBlue (A) Case Study


Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10028985) -10028985 - -
Year 1 3473152 -6555833 3473152 0.9434 3276558
Year 2 3974707 -2581126 7447859 0.89 3537475
Year 3 3973273 1392147 11421132 0.8396 3336037
Year 4 3229254 4621401 14650386 0.7921 2557872
TOTAL 14650386 12707942


The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2678957

In isolation the NPV number doesn't mean much but put in right context then it is one of the best method to evaluate project returns. In this article we will cover -

Different methods of capital budgeting


What is NPV & Formula of NPV,
How it is calculated,
How to use NPV number for project evaluation, and
Scenario Planning given risks and management priorities.




Capital Budgeting Approaches

Methods of Capital Budgeting


There are four types of capital budgeting techniques that are widely used in the corporate world –

1. Net Present Value
2. Payback Period
3. Internal Rate of Return
4. Profitability Index

Apart from the Payback period method which is an additive method, rest of the methods are based on Discounted Cash Flow technique. Even though cash flow can be calculated based on the nature of the project, for the simplicity of the article we are assuming that all the expected cash flows are realized at the end of the year.

Discounted Cash Flow approaches provide a more objective basis for evaluating and selecting investment projects. They take into consideration both –

1. Magnitude of both incoming and outgoing cash flows – Projects can be capital intensive, time intensive, or both. Jetblue Airlines shareholders have preference for diversified projects investment rather than prospective high income from a single capital intensive project.
2. Timing of the expected cash flows – stockholders of Jetblue Airlines have higher preference for cash returns over 4-5 years rather than 10-15 years given the nature of the volatility in the industry.




Formula and Steps to Calculate Net Present Value (NPV) of The Battle for Logan Airport: American Airlines versus JetBlue (A)

NPV = Net Cash In Flowt1 / (1+r)t1 + Net Cash In Flowt2 / (1+r)t2 + … Net Cash In Flowtn / (1+r)tn
Less Net Cash Out Flowt0 / (1+r)t0

Where t = time period, in this case year 1, year 2 and so on.
r = discount rate or return that could be earned using other safe proposition such as fixed deposit or treasury bond rate. Net Cash In Flow – What the firm will get each year.
Net Cash Out Flow – What the firm needs to invest initially in the project.

Step 1 – Understand the nature of the project and calculate cash flow for each year.
Step 2 – Discount those cash flow based on the discount rate.
Step 3 – Add all the discounted cash flow.
Step 4 – Selection of the project

Why Strategy & Execution Managers need to know Financial Tools such as Net Present Value (NPV)?

In our daily workplace we often come across people and colleagues who are just focused on their core competency and targets they have to deliver. For example marketing managers at Jetblue Airlines often design programs whose objective is to drive brand awareness and customer reach. But how that 30 point increase in brand awareness or 10 point increase in customer touch points will result into shareholders’ value is not specified.

To overcome such scenarios managers at Jetblue Airlines needs to not only know the financial aspect of project management but also needs to have tools to integrate them into part of the project development and monitoring plan.

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 15%

After working through various assumptions we reached a conclusion that risk is far higher than 6%. In a reasonably stable industry with weak competition - 15% discount rate can be a good benchmark.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 15 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10028985) -10028985 - -
Year 1 3473152 -6555833 3473152 0.8696 3020132
Year 2 3974707 -2581126 7447859 0.7561 3005450
Year 3 3973273 1392147 11421132 0.6575 2612491
Year 4 3229254 4621401 14650386 0.5718 1846336
TOTAL 10484410


The Net NPV after 4 years is 455425

(10484410 - 10028985 )






Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 20%


If the risk component is high in the industry then we should go for a higher hurdle rate / discount rate of 20%.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 20 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10028985) -10028985 - -
Year 1 3473152 -6555833 3473152 0.8333 2894293
Year 2 3974707 -2581126 7447859 0.6944 2760213
Year 3 3973273 1392147 11421132 0.5787 2299348
Year 4 3229254 4621401 14650386 0.4823 1557318
TOTAL 9511172


The Net NPV after 4 years is -517813

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9511172 - 10028985 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Jetblue Airlines to discount cash flow at lower discount rates such as 15%.



Acceptance Criteria of a Project based on NPV

Simplest Approach – If the investment project of Jetblue Airlines has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Jetblue Airlines can ACCEPT the project, otherwise they can reject the project. This means that project will deliver higher returns over the period of time than any alternate investment strategy.

In theory if the required rate of return or discount rate is chosen correctly by finance managers at Jetblue Airlines, then the stock price of the Jetblue Airlines should change by same amount of the NPV. In real world we know that share price also reflects various other factors that can be related to both macro and micro environment.

In the same vein – accepting the project with zero NPV should result in stagnant share price. Finance managers use discount rates as a measure of risk components in the project execution process.

Sensitivity Analysis

Project selection is often a far more complex decision than just choosing it based on the NPV number. Finance managers at Jetblue Airlines should conduct a sensitivity analysis to better understand not only the inherent risk of the projects but also how those risks can be either factored in or mitigated during the project execution. Sensitivity analysis helps in –

What are the uncertainties surrounding the project Initial Cash Outlay (ICO’s). ICO’s often have several different components such as land, machinery, building, and other equipment.

What are the key aspects of the projects that need to be monitored, refined, and retuned for continuous delivery of projected cash flows.

Understanding of risks involved in the project.

What will be a multi year spillover effect of various taxation regulations.

What can impact the cash flow of the project.

Some of the assumptions while using the Discounted Cash Flow Methods –

Projects are assumed to be Mutually Exclusive – This is seldom the came in modern day giant organizations where projects are often inter-related and rejecting a project solely based on NPV can result in sunk cost from a related project.

Independent projects have independent cash flows – As explained in the marketing project – though the project may look independent but in reality it is not as the brand awareness project can be closely associated with the spending on sales promotions and product specific advertising.




References & Further Readings

Ming-Jer Chen, Jason Anderson, Patrick Mueller, Jeff Tolonen (2018), "The Battle for Logan Airport: American Airlines versus JetBlue (A) Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.