JetBlue Airways Corporation (NASDAQ: JBLU) reported a 54% dip in earnings for the first quarter of 2019 as the results were mainly impacted by the calendar placement of Easter and Passover holidays as well as softer revenue environment than expected. However, the results exceeded analysts’ expectations.
Net income plunged by 54% to $42 million and earnings dipped by 50% to $0.14 per share. Excluding special items and tax reform impact, earnings decreased by 38% to $0.16 per share. Total operating revenues increased by 6.7% to $1.87 billion.
During the quarter, revenue per available seat mile (RASM) declined 3.1% year-over-year, due to the holiday calendar placement, improved completion factor and certain areas of softness observed in the trough period. Excluding the 0.75 point impact from high completion factor, RASM declined 2.4% year-over-year, slightly better than the mid-point of its guidance range of down 3.5% to down 1.5%.
CASM, ex-fuel, rose 0.9%, below the low-end of the guidance range of 1.5% to 3.5%. This increase includes a benefit of approximately 0.75 points from improved completion factor.
The realized fuel price in the first quarter was $2.05 per gallon, down 2% from $2.09 in the prior-year quarter. JetBlue entered into forward-fuel derivative contracts to hedge around 7% of its fuel consumption for the second quarter of 2019. The company currently expects the average price per gallon of fuel to be $2.21 in the second quarter of 2019.
For the second quarter of 2019, capacity is expected to increase between 4.5% and 6.5% year-over-year. RASM growth is expected to range between 1% and 4%, which includes the expected 2.25 point positive impact of Easter/Passover holiday placement shift into April. CASM, ex-fuel, is expected to grow 1.5% to 3.5%.
For full-year 2019, capacity is expected to grow in the range of 1% to 4%. The company expects CASM, ex-fuel, to be between flat and 2% on a year-over-year basis. Looking ahead, JetBlue remained committed to its goal of delivering EPS target of $2.50 to $3.00 range in 2020. The company continues to expect margin expansion in 2019 and to further expand its margins in 2020.
Shares of JetBlue Airways ended Monday’s regular session down 0.77% at $16.83 on the Nasdaq. The stock inched up over 2% in the premarket session.
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