JetBlue (JBLU) has revealed that bookings trends have stabilized and are improving, following a setback in September caused when the COVID-19 Delta variant spread throughout the United States.
On October 26, 2021, the US carrier said that despite the September softness, revenue in the third quarter was “exceptionally strong”, helping it to report better than expected third quarter results.
JetBlue (JBLU) said adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) reached $140 million in the quarter against its previously expected range of $75 – $125 million. Revenue was down 5.5% compared with pre-pandemic levels and better than the carrier’s expectation for a 6-9% fall.
“We expect robust revenue acceleration throughout the quarter as the holidays approach and demand continues to meaningfully improve,” Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s (JBLU) President and Chief Operating Officer, commented in a press release.
However, Geraghty said that revenue would be down 8-13% in comparison with 2019 levels, while capacity would be down 4-7%. The manager said this was due to a delayed corporate travel recovery and a seasonal dip in leisure demand.
The carrier expects its Northeast Alliance partnership with American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) will help boost its recovery.
Fuel prices, cited as a risk by rivals such as Delta and American Airlines (A1G) (AAL), will also dampen profit expectations for the fourth quarter. EBITDA is expected to be between negative $50 million and positive $50 million in the final three months of the year.
“We expect troughs to be challenging, exacerbated by a slower business travel recovery, but the holidays are performing meaningfully better, and we took tactical capacity actions to better align with the demand environment,” Geraghty commented.