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Published on : Wednesday, April 27, 2016
JetBlue reported first quarter operating revenues of $1.6 billion. Revenue passenger miles for the first quarter increased 14.1% to 11.0 billion on a capacity increase of 14.1%, resulting in a first quarter load factor of 84.2%, a 0.1 point decrease year over year.
Yield per passenger mile in the first quarter was 13.46 cents, down 8.0% compared to the first quarter of 2015. Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) for the first quarter 2016 decreased 8.0% year over year to 11.35 cents and operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM) decreased 7.0% year over year to 12.41 cents.
Operating expenses for the quarter decreased 0.2%, or $3 million, from the prior year period. Interest expense for the quarter declined 15.1%, or $5 million, as JetBlue continued to reduce its debt. JetBlue’s operating expense per available seat mile (CASM) for the first quarter decreased 12.6% year over year to 9.73 cents. Excluding fuel and profit sharing, first quarter CASM1 decreased 3.6% to 7.67 cents.
System on time departures, or D0, decreased 2.7 points year-over-year in the first quarter. System arrival performance, or A14, improved 1.5 points. Completion factor improved 1.8 points.
“Our disciplined growth strategy continues to yield strong performance. This morning, we posted record first quarter results with higher margins than most of our competitors. These results would not have been possible without the amazing efforts of our 18,000 crewmembers. They truly are our biggest competitive advantage,” said Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s President and CEO.
Fuel Expense and Hedging
JetBlue had no fuel hedges in place in the first quarter. The realized fuel price in the quarter was $1.17 per gallon, a 43% decrease versus first quarter 2015 realized fuel price of $2.06.
JetBlue continues to be unhedged in the second quarter of 2016. Based on the fuel curve as of April 15th, JetBlue expects an average price per gallon of fuel, including the impact of fuel taxes, of $1.33 in the second quarter. For the balance of the year beyond the second quarter, JetBlue has hedged approximately 20% of projected fuel consumption.
Liquidity and Cash Flow
JetBlue ended the quarter with $1.3 billion in unrestricted cash and short term investments, or about 20% of trailing twelve month revenue. In addition, JetBlue maintains approximately $600 million in undrawn lines of credit.
During the first quarter, JetBlue repaid $51 million in regularly scheduled debt and capital lease obligations. JetBlue anticipates paying approximately $403 million in regularly scheduled debt and capital lease obligations during the remainder of 2016 and plans to continue to opportunistically prepay other debt. JetBlue expects to pay approximately $36 million in regularly scheduled debt and capital obligations in the second quarter of 2016.
“I would also like to thank our Crewmembers for delivering an excellent quarter. Their outstanding customer service and a continued focus on costs are creating significant value,” said Mark Powers, JetBlue’s Chief Financial Officer.
Second Quarter and Full Year Outlook
For the second quarter of 2016, the year over year change in CASM excluding fuel and profit sharing is expected to be between negative 0.5% and positive 1.5%. For the full year 2016, CASM excluding fuel and profit sharing is expected to increase between zero and 1.5 percent year over year. This represents a 0.5 percentage point reduction to the top end of our previous guidance range.
Capacity is expected to increase between 9.5% and 11.5% in the second quarter 2016 and between 8.5% and 10.5% for the full year, consistent with prior guidance.