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JetBlue Stock Rises After Swing to Surprise Profit, Revenue Jump

JetBlue said it expected a full recovery as demand was poised to reaccelerate into the peak holiday periods.

Shares of JetBlue  (JBLU) - Get JetBlue Airways Corporation Report advanced Tuesday after the carrier swung to a surprise third-quarter profit on a quadrupling of revenue.

JetBlue stock at last check edged 1% higher to $14.89.

The Long Island City, N.Y., carrier reported earnings of $130 million, or 40 cents a share compared with a loss of $393 million, or $1.44 a share, in the year-earlier quarter.

Revenue rose to $1.97 billion from $492 million in the pandemic-hammered year-earlier period.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet estimated a loss of 18 cents a share on revenue of revenue of $1.92 billion.

"We are marching towards a full recovery and a return to sustained profitability, with margin as our ‘north star,’" Chief Executive Robin Hayes said in a statement. 

The carrier's business model -- which includes keeping costs and fares low -- "positions JetBlue to thrive in the years ahead,” he said.

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"We believe that demand is once again poised to reaccelerate into the peak holiday periods and beyond as people continue to adjust to a new normal," Hayes added.

Departures in the third quarter more than doubled to 76,918 from 32,124.

"September took the brunt of the bookings softness associated with rising case counts tied to" the Covid delta variant, Chief Operating Officer Joanna Geraghty said.

"That said, trends have stabilized and are improving. We expect robust revenue acceleration throughout the quarter as the holidays approach and demand continues to meaningfully improve." 

“For the fourth quarter, we are planning for revenue to decline between 8% and 13% year over two," added Geraghty. 

"We expect troughs to be challenging, exacerbated by a slower business travel recovery, but the holidays are performing meaningfully better, and we took tactical capacity actions to better align with the demand environment."

JetBlue estimates its result before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the fourth quarter will range from a loss of $50 million to profit of $50 million.