Market Overview

JetBlue Announces Third Quarter 2019 Results

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JetBlue Airways Corporation (NASDAQ:JBLU) today reported its results for the third quarter 2019:

  • Reported diluted earnings per share of $0.63 in the third quarter of 2019 compared to a diluted earnings per share of $0.16 in the third quarter of 2018. Adjusted diluted earnings per share was $0.59(1) in the third quarter of 2019 versus $0.42(1) in the third quarter of 2018. Note A to this earnings release includes the GAAP to Non-GAAP reconciliation between reported and adjusted diluted earnings per share.
  • GAAP pre-tax income of $254 million in the third quarter of 2019, compared to a pre-tax income of $68 million in the third quarter of 2018. Excluding the one-time items, adjusted pre-tax income of $239 million(1), up 32% from an adjusted pre-tax income of $180 million(1) in the third quarter of 2018.

     

  • Pre-tax margin of 12.2%, up from a pre-tax margin of 3.4% in the third quarter of 2018. Adjusted pre-tax margin of 11.4%(1), a 2.4 percentage point increase year over year from an adjusted pre-tax margin of 9.0%(1), exclusive of the one-time items.

     

     

Highlights from the Third Quarter 2019

  • Third quarter 2019 revenue per available seat mile (RASM) declined (0.9)% year over year. This decline is slightly better than the mid-point of our updated guidance range of (2.0)% to 0.0%.
  • Operating expenses per available seat mile, excluding fuel (CASM ex-fuel)(1) increased 0.3%, better than the low end of our initial guidance range of 0.5% to 2.5%. This improvement is driven by the compounding benefits of the Structural Cost Program, and the favorable timing of expenses from the third into the fourth quarter of 2019.

     

Key Guidance for the Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019:

  • Capacity is expected to increase between 4.5% and 6.5% year over year in the fourth quarter 2019. For the full year 2019, JetBlue expects capacity to increase between 6.0% and 7.0%.
  • RASM growth is expected to range between (3.5)% and (0.5)% for the fourth quarter 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.
  • CASM ex-fuel is expected to range between (1.0)% and 1.0% for the fourth quarter of 2019. For the full year 2019, JetBlue expects year over year CASM ex-fuel growth between 0.5% and 1.0%.

For further details see the latest Investor Update and the Third Quarter 2019 Earnings Presentation available via the internet at http://investor.jetblue.com.

JetBlue will conduct a conference call to discuss its quarterly earnings today, October 22, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. A live broadcast of the conference call will also be available via the internet at http://investor.jetblue.com.

Executing our Plan to Reach our EPS Commitments

"I want to thank all the teams at JetBlue for executing our plan to create long-term value for our customers and owners. We are gaining traction on all of the strategic ‘Building Blocks' we laid out in our last Investor Day. We are just beginning to see the benefits of our revenue, cost, fleet and capital allocation efforts, with additional opportunities ahead of us. Despite some near-term pressures on revenue in our international markets and NEO delays, we believe we are on track to deliver on our goal of $2.50 to 3.00 dollars EPS in 2020," said Robin Hayes, JetBlue's Chief Executive Officer.

"I'm particularly pleased with the progress we are making to improve our unit costs as we deliver on our commitments. In the third quarter, we beat the low end of our CASM ex-Fuel guidance, despite over a half point of capacity lost due to Hurricane Dorian. Our improved completion factor more than offset any storm impact."

"In our commercial building blocks, we believe that our plan to strengthen our unit revenues into 2020 can return us to positive RASM growth. Our efforts into 2020 include a second year of network reallocation and ancillary initiatives, innovations from JetBlue Travel Products, our ongoing work in Loyalty, as well as the contribution from Fare Options 2.0 launching this quarter."

Revenue Performance and Outlook

"During the third quarter our capacity grew 4.8 percent, near the high end of our guidance range of 3 to 5 percent. Higher capacity growth was the result of solid improvement in our completion factor. Our operational initiatives more than offset the impact of hurricane Dorian and runway construction in Fort Lauderdale and JFK," said Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue's President and Chief Operating Officer.

"Our Latin and Caribbean franchise was impacted by disruption in multiple markets. We saw challenges begin earlier this year, but ramped significantly through the summer. We've taken quick action and are redeploying capacity to manage demand in the impacted markets.

For the fourth quarter, we expect RASM to decline between (3.5) and (0.5) percent year over year. We anticipate steady demand in the domestic market, led by transcon and business travel, and see a broadly decelerating domestic yield environment for JetBlue and the industry. In our international markets, we expect capacity and demand challenges to continue into the fourth quarter. We expect ongoing capacity adjustments, combined with demand recovery, to further improve our international RASM trends into next year."

Cost Performance, Outlook and Balance Sheet

"During the third quarter, CASM ex‐fuel increased 0.3 percent year over year, beating the low end of our guidance range of 0.5 to 2.5 percent. CASM ex-fuel growth was driven by ongoing Structural Cost Program benefits, but also benefited by a half point of timing as expenses shift to the fourth quarter," said Steve Priest, JetBlue's EVP Chief Financial Officer.

"I'm thrilled with the progress we are making on better controlling our cost growth. We entered the fourth quarter ahead of plan for the year, and are well on pace to beat the mid-point of our original full year 2019 cost guidance of 1.0 percent. We now estimate our CASM ex-Fuel guide for 2019 should range between 0.5 and 1.0 percent.

I'm proud of the efforts of our team to overcome lower scheduled capacity growth, manage through runway construction in Fort Lauderdale and JFK, and manage the impact of NEO delays and hurricane Dorian. This is the result of relentless execution of our Structural Cost Program, and an outstanding focus on costs by the entire JetBlue team."

Capital Allocation and Liquidity

JetBlue ended the quarter with approximately $994 million in unrestricted cash, cash equivalents, and short term investments, or 12.4% of trailing twelve month revenue. JetBlue repaid $76 million in regularly scheduled debt and capital lease obligations for the third quarter.

Fuel Expense and Hedging

The realized fuel price in the quarter was $2.06 per gallon, an 11% decline versus third quarter 2018 realized fuel price of $2.32.

JetBlue has entered into forward fuel derivative contracts to hedge its fuel consumption for the fourth quarter of 2019. Based on the forward curve as of October 11th, JetBlue expects an average all-in price per gallon of fuel of $2.07 in the fourth quarter of 2019.

About JetBlue

JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline®, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 42 million customers a year to 100+ cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of more than 1,000 daily flights. For more information please visit jetblue.com.

Notes

(1) Note A provides a reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures used in this release and provides the reasons management uses those measures.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 which represent our management's beliefs and assumptions concerning future events. When used in this document and in documents incorporated herein by reference, the words "expects," "plans," "anticipates," "indicates," "believes," "forecast," "guidance," "outlook," "may," "will," "should," "seeks," "targets" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions, and are based on information currently available to us. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements due to many factors, including, without limitation, our extremely competitive industry; volatility in financial and credit markets which could affect our ability to obtain debt and/or lease financing or to raise funds through debt or equity issuances; our significant fixed obligations and substantial indebtedness; volatility in fuel prices, maintenance costs and interest rates; our reliance on high daily aircraft utilization; our ability to implement our growth strategy; our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel and maintain our culture as we grow; our reliance on a limited number of suppliers; our dependence on the New York and Boston metropolitan markets and the effect of increased congestion in these markets; our reliance on automated systems and technology; our being subject to potential unionization, work stoppages, slowdowns or increased labor costs; our presence in some international emerging markets that may experience political or economic instability or may subject us to legal risk; reputational and business risk from information security breaches or cyber-attacks; changes in or additional domestic or foreign government regulation; changes in our industry due to other airlines' financial condition; acts of war or terrorism; global economic conditions or an economic downturn leading to a continuing or accelerated decrease in demand for air travel; the spread of infectious diseases; adverse weather conditions or natural disasters; and external geopolitical events and conditions. It is routine for our internal projections and expectations to change as the year or each quarter in the year progresses, and therefore it should be clearly understood that the internal projections, beliefs and assumptions upon which we base our expectations may change prior to the end of each quarter or year.

Given the risks and uncertainties surrounding forward-looking statements, you should not place undue reliance on these statements. You should understand that many important factors, in addition to those discussed or incorporated by reference in this press release, could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. Potential factors that could affect our results include, in addition to others not described in this press release, those described in Item 1A of our 2018 Form 10-K under "Risks Related to JetBlue" and "Risks Associated with the Airline Industry". In light of these risks and uncertainties, the forward-looking events discussed in this press release might not occur.

JETBLUE AIRWAYS CORPORATION

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

(in millions, except per share amounts)

(unaudited)

 

Three Months Ended

Nine Months Ended

September 30,

Percent

September 30,

Percent

2019

2018(1)

Change

2019

2018(1)

Change

OPERATING REVENUES
Passenger

$

2,005

 

$

1,941

 

3.3

 

$

5,838

 

$

5,490

 

6.3

 

Other

 

81

 

 

67

 

21.6

 

 

225

 

 

200

 

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