JetBlue CEO takes pay cut as airline struggles

A JetBlue employee at JFK International Airport in a file photo. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

NEW YORK (Reuters) - JetBlue Airways Corp's JBLU.O chief executive agreed to halve his salary on Monday in a show of solidarity with employees as the low-cost carrier struggles with soaring fuel prices and a slowing U.S. economy.

David Barger, who took the helm at JetBlue last year after founder David Neeleman stepped down, is to have his base salary cut to $250,000 from $500,000. The cut only applies for the six months from July through December, according to a regulatory filing.

Last week, JetBlue reported a $7 million quarterly loss, as Barger said revenue gains were not keeping pace with rising jet fuel prices. The carrier has put growth plans on hold and deferred deliveries of new planes as it prepares to cut capacity this winter to cut costs.

JetBlue, the U.S. No. 8 carrier, is 19 percent owned by German airline Lufthansa AG LHAG.DE.

Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Andre Grenon