JetBlue has reported better-than-expected results for its third quarter thanks to a “mid-September pick-up in bookings”.
The US carrier, which began flying transatlantic from Heathrow in August and from Gatwick in September, said its revenue for the three months to September 30 was $1.97 billion, down by 5.5% on the same period in 2019.
It posted a pre-tax profit (Ebitda) of $140 million – better than its expected range of $75 million to $125 million, but 63% down on the same period in 2019.
Its net income was $130 million, compared with $187 million in Q3 2019.
Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s president and chief operating officer, said: “I am very pleased with our exceptionally strong revenue performance in the third quarter.
“September took the brunt of the bookings softness associated with rising case counts tied to the Delta variant. That said, trends have stabilised and are improving.
“We expect robust revenue acceleration throughout the quarter as the holidays approach and demand continues to meaningfully improve.
“We expect troughs to be challenging, exacerbated by a slower business travel recovery, but the holidays are performing meaningfully better.”
Ursula Hurley, JetBlue’s chief financial officer, added: “Our third-quarter revenue and adjusted Ebitda came in above the high-end of the ranges we expected in early September.
“This was largely driven by stronger-than-expected performance of Fare Options and a mid-September pick-up in bookings, which drove a revenue result in the third quarter that we believe to be among the best in the industry.”
JetBlue started flying from New York to Heathrow in August, followed by a Gatwick service at the end of September.
Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s chief executive, commented: “We believe that demand is once again poised to re-accelerate into the peak holiday periods and beyond as people continue to adjust to a new normal. We are marching towards a full recovery and a return to sustained profitability.”