* Shares down almost 3 percent
Jan 29 Discounter JetBlue Airways Corp
reported lower fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday as Superstorm
Sandy disrupted its operations.
Sandy, which barreled through the U.S. Northeast in late
October and forced the shutdown of New York area airports,
reduced JetBlue's revenue by about $45 million and dented profit
by $30 million.
The storm forced JetBlue, and all other carriers serving the
U.S. Northeast, to suspend operations in Washington, Boston and
"Hurricane Sandy was the major headline for JetBlue during
the fourth quarter," Chief Executive Dave Barger said during the
company's earnings conference call. "As the focus shifted to
recovery efforts following the storm, we saw a significant
decline in customer demand for air travel."
New York-based JetBlue has more than 50 percent of its
capacity in the New York metro area.
Quarterly net income fell to $1 million, or nil cents a
share, from $23 million, or 8 cents a share, a year earlier.
Analysts expected profit of 2 cents a share, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose 4 percent to $1.19 billion. Operating expenses
rose 8.3 percent, with costs tied to maintenance materials and
repairs up 27 percent. The average fare edged down 0.3 percent
Shares of JetBlue were down 2.9 percent to $6.05.