Shortly after noon yesterday, shares of JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ:JBLU) took off. Though a confirmatory press release didn't come until much later in the trading session, The New York Times broke the story that German giant Deutsche Lufthansa was planning to buy as much as a quarter of the budget U.S. carrier. In less than 20 minutes, shares rocketed more than 40%.

Oh, Mr. Market -- you magnificent maniac, you. Today's frenzy was out of all proportion to the significance of the actual deal the two airlines hammered out. Shares of JetBlue, which has long been pegged as a takeover target by legacy carrier Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL), closed up a more modest 16% for the day.

While there's plenty of room for speculation and debate regarding Lufthansa's strategic intent behind this investment, the 19% equity stake is strictly financial. Yes, Lufthansa gets a seat at the table in the boardroom. But aside from that, it's formally just an investor like you or me -- nothing more.

Of course, that's a boring answer, and the analysts on the afternoon conference call did their best to get a little "color." Folks from Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), and Lehman Brothers (NYSE:LEH) all sought insight on how this relationship might develop in the future, or potentially upset Lufthansa partners like United parent UAL Corp (NYSE:UAUA). However, JetBlue's CEO played it close to the vest, and stuck to the line that such discussions simply did not arise in the course of negotiations. Right.

Perhaps the most notable point made by a questioner was that JetBlue has some primo real estate, in the form of a new terminal opening at JFK Airport in 2008. A popular theory suggests that Lufthansa might seek to get in on that Terminal 5 turf. It's a pretty convincing thought, particularly in light of recent talk of flight rationing in New York City, but I'm afraid we're just going to have to sit back, stretch our legs, and wait to see what unfolds.

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Fool contributor Toby Shute has a transatlantic flight in his near future, but he doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy helps maintain our cruising altitude.