JetBlue maintenance costs to flatten out in 2014-15

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Low-cost carrier JetBlue expects heavier maintenance costs to flatten out in the 2014 to 2015 timeframe, following a first quarter in which maintenance provided the greatest cost pressure.

The airline's chief financial officer Mark Powers said at today's Merrill Lynch Global Transportation Conference: "We expect the maintenance cost bubble to flatten out in 2014, 2015."

JetBlue reported a 50% year-on-year increase in maintenance costs on a unit cost basis in its first quarter, largely attributed to heavy maintenance checks on a bunch of Airbus A320s acquired in the mid-2000s.

It reported more unscheduled Embraer E190 engine removals than expected, and was also impacted by the liquidation of maintenance provider Aveos, of which it was a customer.

JetBlue has said it was looking for alternative providers to pick up the work previously done by Aveos, with which it had a cost-effective flight hour agreement covering its A320 aircraft parts.

Powers has said previously the airline expects the financial impact from Aveos' liquidation, estimated to be in the double-digit million range, to abate by the fourth quarter,