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JetBlue expects wider loss

February 22, 2007|From Bloomberg News

JetBlue Airways Corp. said Wednesday that the 1,102 flight cancellations triggered by an ice storm last week would result in a wider first-quarter per-share loss and a reduced profit for the year.

The Forest Hills, N.Y.-based carrier said it expected to have an operating loss of 2% to 4% of revenue in the quarter. It had forecast a profit of 2% to 4% of revenue, JetBlue spokesman Bryan Baldwin said in an interview. The company declined to say what the loss would be in dollars.

JetBlue's cancellation of a third of its flights from Feb. 14 to Monday added to troubles with aggressive expansion that had caused the company to lose money the last two years.

JetBlue shares rose 29 cents to $13.19. They have gained 18% in the last 12 months.

The revised outlook amounts to a loss of about 14 cents a share for the first quarter and a full-year per-share profit of about 44 cents, Ray Neidl, a Calyon Securities USA Inc. analyst in New York, said in an interview.

JetBlue had said Jan. 30 that it expected a first-quarter loss of 10 cents a share, depending on tax rates.

William Greene, a Morgan Stanley Research analyst, widened his estimate of JetBlue's first-quarter loss to 16 cents a share Tuesday.

JetBlue's cancellations, flight delays, refunds and vouchers will cost as much as $45 million, Daniel McKenzie, a Credit Suisse analyst, said in a report.

Under a newly announced customer "bill of rights," JetBlue said it would allow passengers to leave planes delayed on the ground for more than five hours.

Travelers whose flights have landed but can't get to a gate will receive vouchers for future travel ranging from $25 to the full amount of a round-trip fare.

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