JetBlue Airways Corporation (JetBlue Airways) (New York) today reported its results for the second quarter 2014:
Pre-tax income excluding special items1 of $103 million in the second quarter. This compares to pre-tax income of $60 million in the second quarter of 2013.
Gain of $242 million from the sale of its wholly-owned subsidiary LiveTV.
On a GAAP basis, pre-tax income of $345 million in the second quarter.
Net income excluding special items for the second quarter was $61 million, or $0.19 per diluted share.
This compares to JetBlue’s second quarter 2013 net income of $36 million, or $0.11 per diluted share.
On a GAAP basis, net income for the second quarter was $230 million, or $0.68 per diluted share.
“Today, we are pleased to report record second quarter earnings and our seventeenth consecutive quarter of profitability,” said Dave Barger, JetBlue’s Chief Executive Officer. “We saw improved profitability across our network, reflecting the success of ongoing efforts to adapt our products and services to meet our customers’ ever-changing needs. I would like to thank our 15,500 crewmembers for their dedication to running a safe airline and delivering outstanding service to our customers.”
JetBlue reported record second quarter operating revenues of $1.5 billion. Revenue passenger miles for the second quarter increased 5.7% to 9.6 billion on a capacity increase of 6.0%, resulting in a second quarter load factor of 84.6%, a decrease of 0.3 points year over year.
Yield per passenger mile in the second quarter was 14.25 cents, up 6.3% compared to the second quarter of 2013. Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) for the second quarter 2014 increased 6.0% year over year to 12.05 cents and operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM) increased 5.6% year over year to 13.12 cents. The shift of the Easter and Passover holidays from March last year to April this year positively impacted second quarter year over year PRASM by approximately two points.
Operating expenses for the quarter increased 9.8%, or $119 million, over the prior year period. Interest expense for the quarter declined 7.5%, or $3 million, due to JetBlue’s focus on debt reduction. JetBlue’s operating expense per available seat mile (CASM) for the second quarter increased 3.5% year over year to 11.88 cents. Excluding fuel and profit sharing, CASM2 increased 5.1% to 7.51 cents.
“We improved margin performance while expanding our network, demonstrating the core strength of our business,” said Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s President. “We remain focused on providing a differentiated product and culture in high-value geography while maintaining competitive costs. We believe this focus will drive improved returns for our shareholders.”
Fuel Expense and Hedging
JetBlue continued to hedge fuel to manage price volatility. Specifically, in the second quarter JetBlue had in place hedges for approximately 15% of its fuel consumption and managed approximately 7% of its fuel consumption using fixed forward price agreements (FFPs). This resulted in a realized fuel price of $3.09 per gallon, a 0.9% increase over second quarter 2013 realized fuel price of $3.06. JetBlue recorded $2 million in losses on fuel hedges that settled during the second quarter.
JetBlue has managed approximately 30% of its third quarter projected fuel requirements using a combination of FFPs, jet fuel swaps and caps. Based on the fuel curve as of July 17th, JetBlue expects an average price per gallon of fuel, including the impact of hedges, FFPs and fuel taxes, of $3.08 in the third quarter.
Liquidity and Cash Flow
JetBlue ended the quarter with approximately $797 million in unrestricted cash and short term investments. In addition, JetBlue maintains $550 million in lines of credit.
During the second quarter, JetBlue repaid approximately $44 million in regularly scheduled debt and capital lease obligations. In addition, JetBlue pre-paid approximately $300 million in debt with the proceeds from the sale of LiveTV. JetBlue plans to repay approximately $185 million in regularly scheduled debt and capital lease obligations in the remainder of 2014, including approximately $58 million in the third quarter.
“We continued to strengthen the balance sheet by paying down debt while enhancing access to liquidity by increasing the number of unencumbered aircraft,” said Mark Powers, JetBlue’s Chief Financial Officer. “We believe these actions will help us maintain a relatively flat invested capital base this year while growing assets, which we expect will help us meet our return on invested capital goal.”
Third Quarter and Full Year Outlook
For the third quarter of 2014, CASM is expected to increase between 0.5% and 2.5% versus the year-ago period. Excluding fuel and profit sharing, CASM in the third quarter is expected to increase between 1.0% and 3.0% year over year.
CASM for the full year is expected to increase between 1.0% and 3.0% over full year 2013. Excluding fuel and profit sharing, CASM in 2014 is expected to increase between 2.5% and 4.5% year over year. Relative to JetBlue’s previous cost outlook, this full year guidance reflects approximately a one point reduction in unit costs excluding fuel and profit sharing primarily due to a reduction of operating expenses in the second half of the year as a result of the sale of LiveTV.
Capacity is expected to increase between 3.0% and 5.0% in the third quarter. For the full year, capacity is expected to increase between 4.0% and 6.0%.
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Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N709JB (msn 3488) in the special one-off “Binary Code” livery arrives in New York (JFK).