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VOL. 35 | NO. 15 | Friday, April 15, 2011




JetBlue squeezes out small 1Q profit

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NEW YORK (AP) — JetBlue said Thursday that it squeezed out a small profit in the first quarter as higher fares and improving traffic countered the rising price of jet fuel.

The New York airline earned $3 million or a penny per share in the first three months of the year, compared with a loss of $1 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

Revenue rose 16 percent to $1.01 billion from $871 million a year ago.

The results fell short of Wall Street's expectations. FactSet says analysts expected JetBlue to post a profit of 2 cents per share on revenue of $989.1 million.

Fuel prices jumped much faster than JetBlue expected. The company paid 35 percent more for fuel in the first quarter than it did at the same time last year. Just three months ago, it predicted fuel would rise by 17 percent.

Overall, JetBlue Airways Corp. made about 8 percent more per passenger in the first quarter than it did a year ago, including fares and fees. Traffic rose 7 percent, but the airline increased the number of available seats by only 1 percent, making flights fuller. Keeping expansion in check while demand goes up allows airlines to save money on extra planes and fuel. It also allows them to raise fares because fewer seats are available.

Rival Southwest Airlines Co. also reported a profit of a penny per share in the first quarter. The airlines' bigger competitors American and United-Continental lost money in the quarter. Delta Air Lines and US Airways report first-quarter results next week.

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