JetBlue cash jumps 23% in Q1

Washington DC
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JetBlue Airways saw its cash balances rise 23% to $771 million during the first quarter, when it recorded the proceeds of nearly $248 million in new debt.

The jump in cash, cash equivalents and investment securities is largely due to the funding of the New York-based carrier’s $225.7 million 2013-1 enhanced equipment trust certificate (EETC) notes on 5 March. The debt is secured by 14 Airbus A320 aircraft in its fleet and closed in September 2013.

JetBlue also closed a $22 million fixed-rate bank loan secured by one Embraer 190 in March. The aircraft was already in its fleet.

Cash, cash equivalents and investment securities were down 9.2% from $849 million at the end of March 2013.

Long-term debt and capital lease obligations increased 9.9% to $2.33 billion during the quarter. Debt was up 3.6% compared to a year earlier.

JetBlue took delivery of one Airbus A321 during the first quarter. The aircraft, which is registered N923JB, was financed under a 10-year capital lease with German lender Hessen-Thueringen Girozentrale (Helaba), according to a stock exchange filing and Flightglobal’s Ascend Online database.

The airline has eight more A321 deliveries scheduled for the rest of 2014. It has an operating lease in place for one aircraft – understood to also be with Helaba – financing commitments for two aircraft and plans to pay cash for the remaining five, it says.

Capital expenditure was roughly $190 million during the first quarter. This included aircraft expenses as well as $75 million for 24 slots at Ronald Reagan Washington National airport that JetBlue bought from American Airlines.

JetBlue had 21 unencumbered aircraft, including 20 A320s and one E190, at the end of the first quarter. This was down by two aircraft, including one A320 and one E190.