JetBlue posts $1m net profit in Q4

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New York-based JetBlue posted net income of $1 million for its fourth quarter of 2012, down sharply from the $23 net profit it posted in the corresponding period in 2011.

Operating revenues for the three months ended 31 December 2012 grew 4.2% to $1.19 billion in a record for the airline's fourth quarter, and operating expenses rose 8.3% to $1.15 billion.

Hurricane Sandy, which hit in late October 2012, reduced revenues by an estimated $45 million, says JetBlue.

The airline's fourth quarter operating income declined 47.5% to $44 million.

On a full-year basis, the carrier posted net income of $128 million, up from the $86 million it reported a year ago.

Operating revenues in 2012 rose 10.6% to $4.98 billion and operating expenses grew 10.1% to $4.61 billion. Operating income for the full year grew 16.6% to $376 million.

Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) in the fourth quarter declined 0.2% to 11.03 cents, while cost per available seat mile (CASM) excluding fuel rose 4.8% to 7.17 cents.

On a full-year basis, PRASM was up 3.6% to 11.35 cents and CASM excluding fuel was up 3.3% to 6.99 cents.

Passenger traffic in the fourth quarter rose 4.3% and capacity was up 4.8%. The passenger load factor declined 0.3 percentage point to 81.9%. Passenger traffic in 2012 grew 9.3% and capacity rose 7.6%. The load factor grew 1.4 percentage point to 83.8%.

The airline expects CASM to grow by between 1% and 3% in the first quarter of 2013. Excluding fuel and profit sharing, CASM in the first quarter is forecast to increase by between 2% and 4% year-on-year.

For 2013, CASM is expected to grow by between 1.5% and 3%. Excluding fuel and profit sharing, CASM in 2013 is expected to increase by between 1% and 3%.

JetBlue estimates that capacity will rise by between 5.5% and 7.5% in the first quarter, as well as for the full year.