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JetBlue Warns on Storm

Profit margins will be negative in the first quarter.

JetBlue (JBLU) - Get JetBlue Airways Corporation Report warned Wednesday that last week's service meltdown will hit first-quarter and full-year results.

The New York-based low-fare carrier said the effects of a Valentine's Day storm will pull its first-quarter operating margin down to a range of negative 2% to negative 4%. JetBlue said its pretax margin would be negative to the tune of 8% to 10%.

The company said it expects to post an operating margin of 8% to 10% for the year and a pretax margin of 3% to 5%.

JetBlue was forced to cancel hundreds of flights after it failed to prepare for the Feb. 14 storm that paralyzed air travel in the Northeast. Nine JetBlue planes were stranded on the runways for at least six hours that day.

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JetBlue has said making good on promises to inconvenienced travelers could cost as much as $30 million -- a big hit for an airline whose fourth-quarter profit was $17 million.