By Dow Jones Business News, October 29, 2013, 08:45:00 AM EDT
JetBlue Airways Corp. reported its ( JBLU ) third-quarter earnings rose 58% and the U.S. discount carrier also unveiled
changes in plans to improve its fleet to more closely align with demand and reduce costs.
JetBlue said the fleet plan includes deferring 24 Embraer SA (ERJ, EMBR3.BR) 190 aircraft to between 2020 and 2022
from the current 2014 and 2018. The plan also includes the conversion of 18 Airbus A320s to A321s and an incremental
order for 15 A321ceo and 20 A321neo aircraft.
"While the E190 is critical to our continued success in Boston and San Juan, we are now at the point where our network
growth calls for larger gauge aircraft," President and Chief Executive Dave Barger said. The company also expects the "
fleet restructuring plan will allow us to accelerate attractive growth opportunities at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood
JetBlue said fuel savings associated with the new engine option A320 family is forecast to be 12% to 15% compared with
the current engine option A320 family.
The company has continued to expand by increasing capacity and adding new destinations. JetBlue reiterated its 2013
capacity growth projection for the year of 5.5% to 7.5%.
JetBlue has tweaked its model over the years, in many ways becoming more like a full-service carrier. It added a
frequent-flier plan, began overseas flights to the Caribbean and northern Latin America, added rows of coach seats with
more legroom that are sold for higher fares, instituted a fee for the second checked bag and has plans to add premium
JetBlue reported a profit of $71 million, or 21 cents a share, up from $45 million, or 14 cents a share, a year
earlier. Revenue increased 10% to $1.44 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters recently expected $1.44 billion.
Passenger revenue per available seat mile, which is an important measure of performance for the industry, improved by
Passenger traffic rose 5.4% and capacity grew 5.1%. The percentage of seats filled--or load factor--was up at 85% from
Shares closed Monday at $7.53 and were inactive in recent premarket trading. The stock is up 32% this year.
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