JetBlue announces first quarter 2018 results

Named "M*I*N*T"

JetBlue Airways Corporation today reported its results for the first quarter 2018:

  • Diluted earnings per share of $0.27. This compares to JetBlue’s first quarter 2017 diluted earnings per share of $0.24 cents.
  • Pre-tax income of $110 million, a decrease of 9.2% from the first quarter of 2017.
  • Pre-tax margin of 6.3%, a 1.3 point decrease year over year.

Highlights from the First Quarter 2018

  • First quarter 2018 revenue per available seat mile (RASM) growth of 6.1%, year over year, including the net benefit from Holiday calendar placement.
  • Operating expenses per available seat mile, excluding fuel (CASM ex-fuel) of 3.1%, within the initial guidance range, despite a lower completion factor and offset by timing of maintenance expenses.
  • JetBlue signed a multi-year agreement with Pratt & Whitney for the purchase and maintenance of GTF engines, as work on the Structural Cost Program continues.

Key Guidance for the Second Quarter and Full Year 2018:

  • Capacity is expected to increase between 5.0% and 7.0% year over year in the second quarter 2018. For the full year 2018, JetBlue expects capacity to increase between 6.5% and 8.5%.
  • RASM growth is expected to range between (3.0)% and 0% for the second quarter 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.
  • CASM Ex-Fuel is expected to grow between 2.0% and 4.0% for the second quarter of 2018. For the full year 2018, JetBlue expects year over year CASM Ex-Fuel to be between (1.0)% and 1.0%.

 

“I’d like to thank our nearly 22,000 Crewmembers, who again did an exceptional job safely managing through the many snow storms that hit the Northeast during the first quarter, and into early April. Our strong RASM performance was driven by our revenue management initiatives, ongoing ancillary growth, and strong demand across our network. In addition, CASM ex-fuel growth was within our quarterly guidance, despite pressures from lower completion factor” said Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s President and CEO.

This quarter JetBlue achieved an important milestone in its Structural Cost Program, with a new engine purchase and maintenance agreement with Pratt & Whitney. In addition, JetBlue continued to make capital-light investments to support a broad digital transformation strategy, and further grow its ancillary revenues. These are part of JetBlue’s commercial and cost initiatives as it makes progress toward its goal of achieving superior margins.

Revenue Performance and Outlook

First quarter RASM growth exceeded expectations at 6.1%, above JetBlue’s guidance range from early March of 3.5% to 5.5%. Lower completion factor resulted in capacity growth below the low-end of the guidance range from January.

JetBlue’s Latin and Caribbean region was the brightest spot in its network during the first quarter, with leisure travel exceeding expectations. Growth remains targeted to Boston and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and skewed towards adding frequencies on existing routes. JetBlue continues to build relevance for its leisure and business customers, underpinning solid RASM growth and supporting its margin commitments.

Cost Performance, Outlook and Balance sheet

JetBlue’s solid revenue performance and cost management efforts were partially offset by increasing fuel prices. The company’s focus on costs and the timing of certain expenses resulted in CASM ex-fuel within the guidance from January. JetBlue continues to expect its CASM ex-fuel growth to inflect during the second half of the year, driven by progress in its Structural Cost Program.

“We are delighted with having closed a 15-year deal for the purchase and maintenance of NEO engines. A minor portion of the expected savings from this agreement is included in our 3-year program, and most of the run rate savings will extend well beyond 2020. Our continued focus on costs and our recent accomplishment give us confidence that we will achieve our CASM ex-fuel commitments from 2018 to 2020,” said Steve Priest, JetBlue’s EVP Chief Financial Officer.

JetBlue also continued to maintain a balanced approach to capital allocation, which included debt repayment, one aircraft lease buy-out and $125 million in share repurchases in the quarter.

Capital Allocation and Liquidity

JetBlue ended the quarter with approximately $779 million in unrestricted cash and short term investments, or about 11% of trailing twelve month revenue. In addition, JetBlue maintains approximately $625 million in undrawn lines of credit.

During the first quarter, JetBlue repaid $58 million in regularly scheduled debt and capital lease obligations. JetBlue anticipates paying approximately $65 million in regularly scheduled debt and capital lease obligations in the second quarter and approximately $197 million for the full year 2018.

Fuel Expense and Hedging

The realized fuel price in the quarter was $2.09 per gallon, a 23.8% increase versus first quarter 2017 realized fuel price of $1.69.

JetBlue does not presently have any forward fuel derivative contracts to hedge its fuel consumption. Based on the fuel curve as of April 13th, JetBlue expects an average price per gallon of fuel of $2.23 in the second quarter of 2018.

Copyright Photo: JetBlue Airways Airbus A321-231 WL N983JT (msn 7739) (Prism) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 941683.

JetBlue aircraft slide show:

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Silver Airways completes its acquisition of Seaborne Airlines, the brand will continue

Seaborne Airlines SAAB 340B N353SA (msn 351) (Dolphin) SJU (Raul Sepulveda). Image: 922658.

Silver Airways and Seaborne Airlines on April 23, 2018 announced that Silver’s acquisition of Seaborne’s business and assets has successfully been closed, creating a leading independent airline to serve the Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida, and beyond.

The acquisition brings together two strong independent airlines with similar SAAB 340B fleets, complementary route networks, and common codeshare/interline partners.

With the upcoming deployment of Silver’s recently announced new fleet of state-of-the-art ATR 42-600s across both networks, the combined airline will have an expanded range, allowing it to better serve passengers and markets while creating more opportunities for employees and greater value for its business partners.

The combined airline will continue operating Silver’s route network in the Bahamas, Florida, and beyond under the Silver Airways banner and Seaborne’s route network throughout Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Caribbean under the Seaborne name.

The total fleet now consists of 31 aircraft, including SAAB 340s and de Havilland Twin Otter seaplane aircraft.

Steve Rossum of Silver Airways will serve as CEO of the combined airline. Ben Munson will resume his role as president of aviation consulting firm Embark Aviation, and continue as a valued advisor to the company.

The combined airline will employ nearly 1,000 aviation professionals and will be headquartered at Silver Airways’ offices in Fort Lauderdale under the leadership of executives from both Silver and Seaborne.

Corporate and operations support functions will continue at locations in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa, San Juan, and St. Croix, U.S.V.I.

Copyright Photo: Seaborne Airlines SAAB 340B N353SA (msn 351) (Dolphin) SJU (Raul Sepulveda). Image: 922658.

Seaborne aircraft slide show:

Silver Airways route map:

Seaborne Airlines route map:

Widerøe introduces the Embraer E190-E2 into revenue service

Widerøe today (April 24) became the first airline in the world to put the new Embraer E190-E2 into revenue service.

The brand new aircraft type was introduced on flight WF622 this morning on the Bergen-Tromsø route.

Embraer made this announcement:

Widerøe, Scandinavia’s largest regional airline, completed the first scheduled passenger flight of an Embraer E190-E2 this morning, April 24. The aircraft, registered LN-WEA and operating as flight WF622, departed Bergen Airport on time at 7:35 AM and arrived at Tromsø Airport two hours later at 9:35 AM local time. The flight was sold out.

Today’s flight marks the official entry into service of the first of three new E-Jets E2s that Embraer has developed to succeed its first-generation E-Jets. Deliveries of the larger E195-E2 are planned to start in 2019, and in 2021 for the smaller E175-E2.

Widerøe passengers experienced a quiet, environmentally-friendly flight on the 672 nm sector. The E190-E2 has the lowest external noise and emissions levels of any aircraft in its category and burns 17.3% less fuel than the current-generation E190.

The completely redesigned and pleasant E2 cabin interior features new acoustic treatments, an improved quiet air conditioning system and more stowage space. In some flight conditions, cabin noise levels in the E2 are 50% lower than in the main competitor.

The lowest community noise margins in the airline industry were achieved through a combination of low-drag and low-noise airframe design with outstanding field performance. These features reduce required engine thrust making the E2 much quieter during approach and take-off.

Widerøe will receive two more E190-E2s this year. It holds purchase rights for an additional 12 E2s. The total value of the order is approximately USD 873 million if all rights are exercised.

For the E-Jets program alone, Embraer has logged more than 1,800 orders and 1,400 deliveries, redefining the traditional concept of regional aircraft by operating across a range of business applications.

Photo: Widerøe.

Video:

Southwest to add more service at New York LaGuardia and Washington Reagan National following a slot agreement with Alaska

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N8712L (msn 36930) FLL (Andy Cripps). Image: 941462.

Alaska Airlines Group has received approval from the Department of Justice (DOT) for an agreement with Southwest Airlines. Southwest will lease 12 “within perimeter slots” at New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and and eight “within perimeter” slots at Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA).

The lease, which commences in October 2018, will enable Alaska Airlines to monetize the valuable slots, while Alaska reallocates its flying from DCA and LGA to Dallas Love Field, to more strategic and profitable opportunities on the West Coast.

This slot lease runs through 2028, at which point Alaska will have the right to reassume flying using these valuable slots from LGA and DCA.

This new agreement will allow Southwest Airlines to expand operations at both LGA and DCA.

Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N8712L (msn 36930) FLL (Andy Cripps). Image: 941462.

Southwest Airlines aircraft slide show:

Porter Airlines to resume seasonal service to Mont Tremblant, new maintenance base at Sudbury

Porter Airlines Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) C-GLQQ (msn 4272) MYR (Jan Petzold). Image: 941689.

Porter Airlines flights to Mont Tremblant, Quebec, are back in time to enjoy summer in the Laurentians region (below). Seasonal service begins on June 22, and runs until September 23, 2018.

Flights operate up to four times weekly starting July 26 through Labour Day, and two times weekly for the remainder of the season.

Passengers fly nonstop from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to Mont Tremblant International Airport in just 70 minutes.

Additionally the carrier also started seasonal service to Stephenville with 11 round-trip flights on Saturdays through June 23, increasing to twice weekly from June 27 to September 1, 2018. Flights will continue into the fall and winter to the west coast on the island of Newfoundland (below).

In other news, Porter Airlines has announced it will establish a new maintenance base at Greater Sudbury Airport for its 29 Bombardier Q400 aircraft.

Photo Above: Porter Airlines. The Hon. Glenn Thibeault, Mayor Mayor Brian Bigger, Sudbury AirportCEO, Todd Tripp, and Porter COO, Paul Moreira announcing Porter’s investment in a Sudbury aircraft maintenance base with the support of The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. This investment demonstrates how the private sector can work with government to benefit local economies, ensuring our eight local maintenance team members have an excellent, new hangar facility at Sudbury Airport.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by Porter): Porter Airlines Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) C-GLQQ (msn 4272) MYR (Jan Petzold). Image: 941689.

Porter Airlines aircraft slide show:

Route Map:

Qatar Airways and AS Roma announce a new partnership

AS Roma and Qatar Airways are delighted to announce a multi-year partnership that will see Qatar Airways become the club’s official shirt sponsor.

The sponsorship, the largest ever signed by the club and one of the biggest ever agreed by an Italian football club, will see the airline’s logo adorn the front of the first team’s shirts until the end of the 2020-21 season.

Launched in 1997, Qatar Airways is one of the youngest global airlines to serve all six continents and connects over 150 destinations on the map every day. One of an elite group of airlines worldwide to have earned a 5-star rating by Skytrax, Qatar Airways was voted Airline of the Year in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2017.

Under the terms of the deal, Qatar Airways becomes Roma’s Main Global Partner and will be only the seventh shirt sponsor in the club’s 90-year history.

Formed in 1927, Roma is one of Italy’s most successful football clubs, winning three Serie A titles, nine Coppa Italia crowns, and regularly competing in the UEFA Champions League.

The new partnership will enable Qatar Airways to engage with the club’s 263 million fans worldwide and help Roma reach millions of potential new fans across the globe.
The agreement also further strengthens Qatar Airways’ commitment to Italy. The airline currently flies twice a day to Rome and Milan, as well as daily to Venice and Pisa. Qatar Airways last year announced the acquisition of 49 per cent of AQA Holding, the new parent company of Air Italy.

Photos: AS Roma.

Ultra Long Range Airbus A350 XWB completes its first flight

Airbus made this announcement:

The Ultra Long Range version of the A350 XWB, msn 216,  has successfully completed its first flight. The latest variant of the best-selling A350 XWB Family will be able to fly further than any other commercial airliner and will enter service with launch operator Singapore Airlines in second half 2018.

The aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines has embarked on a short flight test programme to certify the changes over the standard A350-900 that will extend its range capability to 9,700 nautical miles. These changes include a modified fuel system that increases fuel carrying capacity by 24,000 litres, without the need for additional fuel tanks. The test phase will also measure enhanced performance from aerodynamic improvements, including extended winglets.

With a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 280 tons, the Ultra Long Range A350 XWB is capable of flying over 20 hours non-stop, combining the highest levels of passenger and crew comfort with unbeatable economics for such distances.

Altogether, Singapore Airlines has ordered seven A350-900 Ultra Long Range aircraft, which it will use on nonstop flights between Singapore and the US, including the world’s longest commercial service between Singapore and New York.

The A350 XWB is an all new family of widebody long-haul airliners shaping the future of air travel. The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs. The A350 XWB features an Airspace by Airbus cabin offering absolute well-being on board with the quietest twin-aisle cabin and new air systems.

At the end of March 2018, Airbus has recorded a total of 854 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 45 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.

Singapore Airlines is one of the largest customers for the A350 XWB Family, having ordered a total of 67 A350-900s, including the seven Ultra Long Range models. The carrier has already taken delivery of 21 A350-900s.

Photo: Airbus/P. Pigeyre.