JetBlue Triples Fourth-Quarter Profit

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- JetBlue ( JBLU)nearly tripled its fourth-quarter profit as revenue rose 22%.

The carrier said fourth quarter net income was $23 million, or 8 cents a share. Analysts had estimated 3 cents a share. Revenue totaled $1.1 billion.

In the same quarter a year earlier, JetBlue earned $8 million, or 3 cents a share.

"JetBlue's solid fourth-quarter results capped a very good year for JetBlue," said CEO Dave Barger, in a prepared statement. "Throughout 2011, we executed on our network strategy in key markets such as Boston and the Caribbean, resulting in record revenue performance. At the same time, we maintained our focus on cost control while running an efficient operation, which helped mitigate the impact of rising fuel prices."

During the quarter, passenger revenue per available seat mile increased 11.8% to 11.05 cents. On the cost side, cost per available seat mile excluding fuel fell 1.5% to 6.85 cents.

Looking ahead, JetBlue said its first-quarter capacity will increase between 9.5% and 11.5%, while full-year capacity will gain between 5.5% and 7.5% even though most competitors are either reducing capacity or planning very limited growth.

For the full year, JetBlue reported net income of $86 million, or 28 cents a share, compared with $97 million, or 31 cents a share, for 2010.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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