JetBlue sees strength in Q4 bookings

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Low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways sees strength in forward bookings for the rest of the year despite softness in September, and says that new Caribbean destinations launching in November are performing in line with expectations.

The New York-based carrier expects passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) to fall by 0.5% or grow up to 0.5% year-on-year, says the airline's chief financial officer Mark Powers in an earnings call on 25 October. He notes that PRASM in October 2011 grew 11% year-on-year.

"Although we have limited visibility, we see sequential improvement in October trends," says Powers, adding that the airline is "pleased" with forward bookings.

JetBlue will launch new destinations in the Caribbean in November, including Cartagena, Samana (Dominican Republic) and Grand Cayman Island. Forward bookings for these destinations "are ramping in line with our expectations", says Powers.

The Caribbean, along with Boston and Latin America, form a key growth area for JetBlue in the coming years.

JetBlue's daily departures out of Latin America and the Caribbean have grown to 180 in the second quarter of 2012 from 60 in the second quarter of 2008. It is currently the largest carrier in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, JetBlue has said.