JetBlue Announces First Quarter

JetBlue Airways Corporation (Nasdaq: JBLU) today reported its results for the first quarter 2003:  * Operating revenues for the quarter totaled $217.1 million, representing growth of 62.8% over operating revenues of $133.4 million in the first quarter of 2002.
* Operating income in the quarter was $34.5 million, resulting in a 15.9% operating margin. This compares with operating income of $23.4 million and a 17.5% operating margin in the first quarter of 2002.
* Net income for the quarter was $17.4 million, representing earnings of $0.25 per diluted share, compared with first quarter 2002 net income of $13.0 million, or $0.23 per diluted share.
Earnings per share figures for the first quarter reflect an increase in the number of weighted average shares outstanding compared to 2002 as a result of the Company`s initial public offering in April 2002. Weighted average shares outstanding for all periods include the effect of the Company`s three-for-two stock split on December 12, 2002.
“We`re proud of our continued solid performance this quarter in the midst of a very difficult operating environment,” said David Neeleman, chief executive officer. “In three short years we`ve achieved nine quarters of profitability, including five consecutive quarters of double-digit operating margins, earned remarkable loyalty among our customers, and grown the JetBlue family to 4,970 crewmembers. With our dedicated crewmembers continuing to provide great customer service and today`s Airbus order announcement supplying the aircraft needed to build on our success, we believe JetBlue is well positioned to continue on its current growth path.”
During the first quarter of 2003, JetBlue achieved a completion factor of 98.8% of scheduled flights compared to 99.9% in 2002. On-time performance, defined by the US Department of Transportation as arrivals within 14 minutes of schedule, was 76.6% in the first quarter of 2003 compared to 85.4% for the same period in 2002. Operating performance was negatively impacted by the severe weather experienced in the Northeast throughout the quarter, with record-setting snowfall including the President`s Day snowstorm, which forced the cancellation of an entire day`s schedule out of JFK, as well as many cancellations out of Washington D.C. Dulles Airport. Excluding the effects of weather, completion factor for the first quarter was 99.9%. The Company attained a load factor of 81.4%, an improvement of 0.6 points, on a capacity increase of 80.7% over the first quarter of 2002.
Dave Barger, president and chief operating officer, commented, “Despite the operational challenges of the first quarter of 2003, our crewmembers dedicated themselves to delivering the JetBlue experience and working to build JetBlue into the airline of choice for all travelers.”
For the first quarter 2003, operating revenues increased by 62.8% over 2002 to $217.1 million. Revenue passenger miles increased 82.1% from the first quarter of 2002 to 2.4 billion. Available seat miles grew 80.7% to 2.9 billion. Yield per passenger mile was 8.84 cents, down 10.7% compared to 2002 on a 6.9% increase in average length of haul. Operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM) decreased 10.1% year-over-year to 7.42 cents. Year-over-year quarterly comparisons are affected by the fact that the Easter/Passover holiday that fell in the first quarter of 2002 fell in the second quarter of 2003.
Operating expenses for the first quarter of 2003 were $182.7 million, up 66.1% from the first quarter of 2002. Operating expense per ASM (CASM) for the first quarter decreased 8.2% year-over-year to 6.25 cents and decreased 1.1% from the fourth quarter 2002. During the quarter, realized fuel prices were 98 cents per gallon, a 57.4% increase over first quarter 2002 realized fuel prices of 62 cents. During the quarter, JetBlue generated positive cash flows from operations of $31.7 million and ended the quarter with cash and short-term investments of $253.9 million.
JetBlue will conduct a conference call to discuss its quarterly earnings today, April 24th, at 10:00 a.m. EDT. A live broadcast of the conference call will be available via the World Wide Web at http://investor.jetblue.com.
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