JetBlue Airways Corp., a small but still-thriving airline despite the travel slump, said Wednesday that it earned $10.5 million in the third quarter while most other carriers lost money.
The profit included a $6.7-million pre-tax gain from JetBlue's initial portion of the federal bailout. However, the privately held airline said that even without the aid, it had a third-quarter operating profit of $4.6 million.
JetBlue had a $2-million loss a year earlier, but the carrier was only a few months old then. It turned profitable in this year's first quarter, and the third-quarter profit "shows the resilience of our low-fare, low-cost business model," said David Neeleman, JetBlue's chief executive.
"Our growth plan remains intact, and we are proud to say that we have not laid off a single employee, nor have we canceled or deferred a single aircraft delivery," he said.
Based at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, JetBlue flies all new Airbus A320 jetliners to 16 cities, including Long Beach, Ontario and Oakland. Although other airlines have slashed operations in response to the plunge in air travel after the attacks, JetBlue said it has restored its pre-Sept. 11 schedule and will have 102 daily flights by the end of the year.
The airline's load factor--the percentage of its seats filled with passengers--was 76.4% in the quarter, well above that of most of the major airlines in the three months ended Sept. 30. JetBlue's third-quarter revenue was$82.6 million, up from $33.4 million a year earlier.