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EARNINGS ROUNDUP

JetBlue Posts Loss on Higher Fuel Costs

April 26, 2006|From Bloomberg News

SEATTLE — JetBlue Airways Corp. reported a first-quarter loss of $32 million as fuel costs rose, prompting the carrier to scale back its growth plans.

It was the second consecutive quarterly loss for the New York-based airline, and the ninth consecutive year-over-year quarterly decline. The loss of 18 cents a share contrasted with a year-earlier profit of $6.97 million, or 4 cents. JetBlue said Tuesday that it would have a profit this quarter and a loss for the year.

An 85% rise in spending for fuel boosted JetBlue's total costs 48% to $515 million, forcing the carrier to trim spending to adjust to a "new normal" for fuel prices, said Chief Executive David Neeleman. JetBlue will delay aircraft deliveries, eliminate some cross-country flights and concentrate on higher-return, shorter-haul markets.

"They're doing exactly what they needed to do," said Helane Becker, an analyst at Benchmark Co. "The growth plan was too aggressive for jet-fuel costs where they are."

JetBlue shares rose $1.24, or 13%, to $10.64.

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