MIAMI — JetBlue is the latest airline to report increased earnings in the fourth quarter and the year, posing an $88 million profit in the quarter and $401 million for the year. Operating income for the New York-based carrier reached was $169 million in the quarter, up 46.6 percent year over year. For the full year, operating income rose 20.3 percent from 2013 to $515 million.
JetBlue had hedges in place for approximately 26 percent of its fuel consumption and managed approximately 7 percent of its fuel consumption using fixed-forward price agreements (FFPs). Their FFPs allowed the carrier to operate under a realized fuel price of $2.70 per gallon, down 12.9 percent year over year. The carrier did lose $26 million after settling fuel hedges in the the fourth quarter.
JetBlue reported that it has hedged around 20 percent of its first quarter 2015 projected fuel requirements. For the balance of the year beyond the first quarter, it has hedged approximately 16 percent of projected fuel consumption.
JetBlue’s revenue passenger miles for the fourth quarter rose 8.5 percent to 9.4 billion on a capacity increase of 7 percent. This resulted in a fourth quarter load factor of 82.1 percent, up 1.2 points year over year. Yield per passenger mile in the fourth quarter was 14.13 cents, down 1.5 percent compared to the same quarter in 2013.
In the first quarter of 2015, CASM excluding fuel and profit sharing is expected to decrease between 1.5 percent and 3.5 percent versus the same period a year ago. Excluding fuel and profit sharing, CASM for the full year 2015 is forecasted to grow between zero and 2 percent year over year.
The airline expects capacity to grow between 11 percent and 13 percent in the first quarter 2015 and between 7 percent and 9 percent for the full year, in line with guidance provided at JetBlue’s Investor Day in November.