JetBlue Airways lost $45 million in revenue during six days of severe winter storms earlier in January, says chief financial officer Mark Powers.
The net impact on the New York-based carrier’s bottom line will only be $30 million after $15 million in reduced expenses, he says during an earnings call on 29 January. This translates to a loss of about one percentage point of passenger unit revenue growth during the month.
JetBlue cancelled 1,800 flights in the northeast from 2 January to 8 January, an action that it has defended in the face of fierce criticism.
"We absolutely think we did the right thing," said Rob Maruster, chief operating officer at the airline, during a media event on 7 January. JetBlue’s sizeable operations at New York JFK International and Boston Logan International airports meant that it was one of the hardest hit during the storms, he added.
Despite the disruptions, JetBlue anticipates a 6% to 7% increase in passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) during January, says Powers.
Capacity will grow 2.5% to 4.5% during the quarter.
Costs per available seat mile (CASM) excluding fuel and profit sharing will increase 3% to 5% compared to the first quarter of 2013.
PRASM increase 5.3% to 11.62 cents on an 8.3% increase in capacity during the fourth quarter of 2013. CASM excluding fuel and profit sharing rose 0.6% to 7.3 cents.