JetBlue post $17m profit in 4Q
02/02/2007|4:40:00 PM|Eyefortravel
Low-cost airline JetBlue Airways Corp. has posted a fourth-quarter profit of $17 million. (1/31/2007)

The performance was a welcome change, as the airline had managed a loss of $42 million, or 25 cents per share, a year ago.

JetBlue’s fourth-quarter revenue jumped 42 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31, to $633 million from $446 million.

The airline’s traffic, or revenue passenger miles, grew 12 percent to 5.8 billion. JetBlue’s yield per passenger mile, or the airline industry’s pricing number, rose 25 percent. The airline also said its costs increased 4.1 percent in the quarter.

“We’ve made great progress since the beginning of 2006,” David Neeleman, JetBlue’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We are optimistic about what lies ahead as we seek to further improve our financial and operating performance.”

For 2006, JetBlue said its loss narrowed to $1 million, or breakeven on a per-share basis, compared with a 2005 loss of $20 million, or 13 cents a share.

For 2007, the airline forecast an operating margin of 10 percent to 12 percent and an increase in costs of 7 percent to 9 percent, excluding fuel. That forecast includes JetBlue’s plan to reduce seats on its A320 aircraft to 150 from 156.