After JetBlue's (JBLU) - Get JetBlue Airways Corporation Report disastrous fourth-quarter earnings call in January, shares in the airline lost 13% over three days. It was not a performance management wished to repeat.

On Tuesday's call, after JetBlue opened the day with an earnings beat and strong current-quarter unit revenue guidance, management stuck to a script defined by CEO Robin Hayes in opening comments when he repeatedly committed to improved margins due to the expansion of Mint, the popular premium product, and to a cost-cutting initiative by Steve Priest, a onetime British Airways executive who was named JetBlue's chief financial officer in February.

"We are confident we are on the right track to producing the superior margins the market expects," Hayes declared. JetBlue's first-quarter margin was 7.9%, below peers' average first-quarter margin of 8.3%, he said.

The first phase of cost-cutting, Hayes said, involves about $100 million, as Priest works to find $250 million to $300 million in annual savings. Asked whether the effort could include a reduction in employee headcount, Hayes responded, "We are very committed to leaving no stone unturned.

"We need to look at everything," he said, noting, "We are very flexible," reflecting an unflinching willingness to do whatever Wall Street demands.

It was a far cry from the January call, when analysts excoriated the carrier for repeatedly declining to provide first-quarter unit revenue guidance. On Tuesday, JetBlue issued quarterly margin guidance for the first time and said it would continue to do so.

Analyst questions Tuesday were largely supportive, although Citi analyst Kevin Crissey, who previously worked as JetBlue director of investor relations, said he was "confused" by a fleet plan that includes deferring some Airbus A321 jets.

In the past, Crissey said, the fleet plan has included deferrals, reaccelerated replacements, another deferral, and an earlier fleet review. "Give me comfort we're not going to see a reversal of these reversals as we look forward," he said.

Hayes responded: "We are absolutely focused on these margin commitments. That is how we drive shareholder value." Much of JetBlue's unit revenue and margin improvements seems to reflect increasing the availability of Mint, its popular premium product. Mint "has been a real margin driver for us," Hayes said.

For the current quarter, JetBlue guided toward revenue per available seat mile of 3% to 6%. Executive Vice President Marty St. George acknowledged that much of the gain is due to a calendar change that pushed Easter travel into April.

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JetBlue shares followed an odd course on Tuesday.

Shares closed Monday at $21.75 and opened Tuesday at $22.08. Twenty-five minutes after the 10 a.m. earnings call began, they had risen to $22.64. Then they declined, hitting a low of $21.80 around 1 p.m. Then they rose to close at $22.47, up 72 cents or 3.3%. Shares are flat for the year.

Several analysts seemed partially but not wholly convinced.

"We're encouraged by the improved RASM trend into 2Q and outlook for free cash flow over the next few years," wrote Stifel's Joseph DeNardi wrote.

But "we maintain our hold rating due to some uncertainty over when JBLU will benefit from its structural cost savings program and its ability to sustain positive RASM as {capacity} growth accelerates in 2H17," he said.

The carrier said capacity will increase 4% to 6% in the current quarter and 5.5% to 7.5% in 2017.

Cowen & Co. analyst Helane Becker has a market perform on the shares.

"Management put in place a plan to 'leave no stone unturned,' as they look to drive higher margins with improved productivity while growing revenues," she wrote. "We believe JetBlue is a 'show-me story' and needs to execute their plan to convince the market they have structurally changed."

JPMorgan analyst Jamie Baker wrote before the earnings call that the strong unit revenue guidance was welcome, but added, "Remember, JetBlue's track record for guidance is turbulent.

"We are by no means implying that the company's RASM guide is unachievable, particularly given that Q2 represents its easiest comp of the year," Baker wrote. "But we do expect a fair degree of market skepticism that may continue to limit equity upside potential until it becomes more evident that JetBlue can achieve its RASM aspirations."

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.