JetBlue Airways unrestricted cash and short-term investments fell by a third to $731 million during the fourth quarter.
"The current environment of strong industry fundamentals and low interest rates enabled us to adopt a more reasonable cash balance as compared to prior years," says the New York-based low-cost carrier in a stock exchange filing on 21 February. "We believe our current level of cash of approximately 15% of trailing twelve months revenue, combined with our available lines of credit and portfolio of unencumbered assets provides us with a strong liquidity position and the potential for higher returns on cash deployment."
JetBlue increased its revolving credit line with Morgan Stanley to $200 million from $100 million in December, and it had 11 unencumbered Airbus A320s in its fleet at the end of 2012.
Unrestricted cash and short-term investments fell by 39.1% in 2012.
Long-term debt and capital lease obligations were down 5.4% to $2.46 billion during the fourth quarter. Debt fell 13.7% during the year.
JetBlue reduced its overall debt burden by $285 million and prepaid $220 million in high cost debt during 2012, according to the filing. It has $509 million in scheduled debt obligations this year and $673 million in 2014.
Capital expenditure was $825 million in 2012, including $344 million for 11 aircraft and five spare engines.