JetBlue forecasts unit revenue growth in May and June

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New York-based JetBlue Airways expects passenger unit revenues to grow by about 5% each in the months of May and June.

The two months are the first in 2014 that have presented a clear picture and more meaningful comparison in what has been a very "up and down" year so far, says JetBlue's president Robin Hayes at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Transportation conference in Boston today.

JetBlue's passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) rose 6% in January, 7% in February and fell 8% in March. It is expected to grow 9.5-10.5% in April, according to latest available guidance from the carrier.

Hayes notes that the airline's February comparison was against a "very disappointing" performance in February 2013, when New York schools cancelled part of a school break to make up for days lost to Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. This pent-up demand from February has also affected the year-on-year comparison of March's PRASM, says Hayes.

Severe winter weather on the US east coast earlier this year that forced JetBlue and other airlines to cancel thousands of flights has also impacted the airline's PRASM figures comparison.

"We had a very strong April... May and June are the first clear months we've had," says Hayes.

JetBlue has said it will grow capacity in the 5.5-7.5% range in the second quarter and for full-year capacity to increase 4-6%.