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JetBlue is entering a new era of bag fees, two-class seating, and tougher competition from a bigger American Airlines.

After nearly a year’s worth of speculation of when JetBlue CEO David Barger would leave — not if — the airline announced today his departure on February 15, 2015.

He will be replaced by current president Robin Hayes, both in the CEO role and his seat on the board. Barger has been CEO since 2007, and was on the team that founded JetBlue in 1998.

JetBlue shares rose over 5% in after-hours trading.

Barger had seen some of his duties trimmed last December when Hayes was given the president title. At that time a JetBlue spokesperson described the decision as follows, “This is a natural fit given the synergies between our Commercial and Operations teams, and Robin’s nearly two decades of operations experience at British Airways. This change will help us to better execute our business plan by aligning Commercial and Operations more closely.”

In a statement today, JetBlue’s Chairman Joel Peterson said, “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to congratulate Robin on this appointment and thank Dave for his extraordinary contributions to JetBlue for more than 16 years.”

Hayes has worked at the airline since 2008 when he left British Airways to become JetBlue’s chief commercial officer.

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Tags: execs, jetblue airways

Photo credit: David Barger, JetBlue CEO, speaking at a National Transportation Safety board focus on Sept. 11, 2013. NTSB / Flickr

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