JetBlue 2011 income down 11.3%; 4Q sets record income of $23 million

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Published: January 27, 2012

JetBlue Airways (B6) reported 2011 net income of $ 86 million, down 11.34% from a $ 97 million profit in the year-ago period because of a 49.2% year-over-year increase in fuel-related expenses,  as well as debt payments and capital expenditures amounting to approximately $ 234 million in the fourth quarter.

However, the carrier told reporters and analysts it recorded “the best fourth-quarter performance in our history,” reporting a net income of $ 23 million, up 187.5% from the $ 8 million earned in the year-ago quarter.

Full-year revenue dipped 3.7% to $ 322 million while expenses jumped 21.4% to $ 4.18 billion, producing an operating profit of $ 4.5 billion, up 19.2% from a $ 3.78 billion operating profit in 2010. In the fourth quarter, B6 recorded a 47.8% jump in revenue to $ 83 million, on a 20.4% increase in expenses to $ 1.06 billion. Its operating profit for the quarter leapt 22.1% to $ 1.14 billion.

B6 noted that ancillary revenues remain an “ongoing focus,” and in 2011 grew roughly $ 80 million, or 18% year-over-year.

During the year, the carrier opened five new destinations in the Caribbean and five new destinations from Boston (BOS). Although it expects its 2012 growth rate in BOS to slow as markets mature, B6 president and CEO Dave Barger said BOS aims to grow from 100 daily departures at BOS to 150 daily departures by the summer of 2015.

Traffic in 2011 rose 8.6% to 30.7 billion RPMs on a 7.2% increase in capacity to 37.2 billion ASMs, producing a load factor of 82.4%, up 1 point. Yield rose 10.2% to 13.29 cents as RASM increased 11.6% to 10.96 cents and CASM increased 13.3% to 11.23 cents. CASM ex-fuel was 6.76 cents, up 0.9%. PRASM for the full year was up 11.6% year over year, driven primarily by the increase in yields, B6 noted.

Fourth-quarter traffic rose 11% to 7.75 billion RPMs on a 10.5% rise in capacity to 9.43 billion ASMs, resulting in an 82.2% load factor, up 0.3 points. Yield grew 11.3% to 13.44 cents while RASM rose 10.5% to 12.16 cents, on a 9% increase in CASM to 11.27 cents. CASM ex-fuel dipped 1.5% to 6.85 cents.

B6 predicts its margins will approve in 2012, but also expects “significant challenges” related to maintenance expenses in the coming year due to its aging fleet.

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