JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU) is changing its Caribbean routes.
The airline is going to scale back its service to Puerto Rico this winter in the wake of devastation from Hurricane Maria, JetBlue said on its third quarter earnings call Tuesday, Oct. 24.
Hurricane Maria tore through the island last month, leaving a trail of severe damage to hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and local airports. As it shifts away from Puerto Rico routes, JetBlue will instead offer flight capacity to other leisure destinations in a bid to keep vacationers' bookings.
"For 2018, we expect to redeploy leisure capacity earlier in the year and the gradually shift back capacity back as resorts and hotels reopen," JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said. "We expect that to return to a full operation by the end of the year."
JetBlue reported third quarter financials Tuesday. Hurricanes Maria and Irma knocked the airline's earnings by about 6 cents, the company said. The storms cost JetBlue $44 million in revenue for the third quarter and are expected to negatively impact full-year results by between $70 million and $90 million.
The company will likely increase traffic to Florida and islands in the Caribbean that weren't as badly damaged as Puerto Rico. The capacity that will remain for Puerto Rico is designed primarily to service travelers visiting Puerto Rico to see friends and relatives, which JetBlue said represents about two-thirds of current traffic to the island.
JetBlue stock was up over 3% Tuesday afternoon after the company's 55 cent earnings per share for the quarter topped analyst expectations.
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