Civil aviation is unlikely candidate to be backing venture capital, but JetBlue has announced that it is getting into the startup game. The investment focus will be on nurturing young firms that offer the “right strategic fit,” although it is unclear what that means. We suspect that the firm is conceding that outside forces may be better equipped at identifying opportunities that will enhance its stock price, than its own legacy resources. Cynics argue that the venture-capital unit is a vanity statement. Notably, the entity is beholden to the company’s chief information officer, suggesting that the airline is staking its future in part on predictive analytics. And that may be a sign that the travel industry relies as much as ever on big data.

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