MIAMI – JetBlue (B6) has announced financial results for Q2 2021 and offered an optimistic forecast for travel recovery despite ongoing pandemic challenges.

For the second quarter of 2021, the airline reported a net income of US$64m compared to a loss of US$320m a year earlier. Revenues were US$1.49bn, up from US$215m a year earlier.

Still, capacity in the quarter was down 15 percent over the same period in 2019 while revenues declined 29 percent compared to two years ago, the last peak in air travel.

“In the second quarter, we saw strong signs that consumer confidence and travel demand is returning, with second-quarter revenue doubling compared to the first quarter driven by pent-up demand,” Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s CEO, said in the company’s earnings release.

“As we turn to recovery, we continued to generate positive cash from operations in the second quarter, and we expect continued improvement in our operating performance as we progress towards a full recovery. We are creating a path to restore our earnings power to beyond 2019 levels and generate long-term value for our owners in the years ahead. Our attention is now squarely on rebuilding our margins and repairing our balance sheet.”

jetBlue N789JB Airbus A320-232. Photo: Kochan Kleps/Airways

Improving Load Factors

B6 cited improving load factors as a sign of recovery. The statistic improved to 79.2 percent in the second quarter – up from 33.8 percent a year earlier during the doldrums of 2020.

“We are pleased to see further month-on-month improvement into the peak summer months, with demand momentum across all of our geographies. We ended the quarter with load factors in the mid-80s with June capacity largely back to pre-pandemic levels, compared to an average load factor in the mid-60s in the first quarter,” said Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s president and chief 0perating officer.

“For the third quarter of 2021, our planning assumption is for capacity to be between flat to down (3%) year over two (2021 vs. 2019), given the strong sequential improvement in demand,” Geraghty continued. “Throughout the pandemic, we have been nimble in adjusting our capacity deployment to the prevailing demand environment. We’ll maintain this approach given the continued uncertainty on the course of the pandemic caused by variants.”

Featured image: jetBlue A321 taking off. Photo: Nate Foy/Airways