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JetBlue announces Fourth Quarter 2023 results, capacity increased by 3.3% year-over-year

Jetblue

Fourth quarter revenue and costs beat expectations

JetBlue Airways Corporation reported its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2023.

“We closed the year on a strong note thanks to the hard work and continued execution of our team as fourth quarter revenue and costs beat our expectations,” said Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s chief executive officer. “Looking ahead, I am confident that the next chapter of JetBlue, under Joanna’s leadership, will deliver a refreshed focus on our core customer, expanded opportunities for our crewmembers, and a return to JetBlue’s historical earnings power for our shareholders.”

“2024 is an important year of change for JetBlue and we are taking aggressive action, including launching $300 million of revenue initiatives, to return to profitability and deliver value for our shareholders. We are moving with renewed rigor and discipline as we refocus our energy and play to our strengths, further deepening our unique competitive positioning,” said Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s president and chief operating officer.

Fourth Quarter 2023 Financial Results
  • Net loss for the fourth quarter of 2023 under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”) of $104 million or $(0.31) per share. Excluding special items, adjusted net loss for the fourth quarter of 2023 of $63 million or $(0.19) per share.
  • Fourth quarter of 2023 capacity increased by 3.3% year-over-year.
  • Operating revenue of $2.3 billion for the fourth quarter of 2023, down 3.7% year-over-year.
  • Operating expense per available seat mile (“CASM”) for the fourth quarter of 2023 decreased 2.4% year-over-year.
  • Operating expense per available seat mile, excluding fuel and related taxes, other non-airline operating expenses, and special items (“CASM ex-Fuel”) (1) for the fourth quarter of 2023 increased 7.6% year-over-year.
  • Average fuel price in the fourth quarter of 2023 of $3.08 per gallon, including hedges.
Fourth Quarter 2023 Key Highlights
  • Executed on Our Cost Initiatives
    • Achieved $70 million in cost savings under our structural cost program in 2023 keeping JetBlue on track to deliver run-rate savings of $175 million to $200 million by the end of 2024.
    • Realized $55 million in cumulative cost savings from our fleet modernization program, which is expected to deliver $75 million in cost savings through 2024 as we replace the Embraer E190s with the margin-accretive A220s.
  • Provided Exceptional Service for Our Customers
    • Delivered excellent operational performance in the fourth quarter with a completion factor of 99.8%, JetBlue’s best fourth quarter completion factor since 2004.
    • Recognized by “The Points Guy” with an Editors’ Choice Award for Best Economy Class across U.S. airlines for the fourth time.
    • Launched new TrueBlue loyalty program offering new perks and options to customers, which to date has generated exceptional growth and engagement, particularly from Mosaic customers.
  • Initiated Strategic Network Changes
    • Redeployed assets to outperforming leisure and VFR routes and began the resizing of our presence at LaGuardia.
    • Expanded service to the Caribbean with new nonstop flights to St. Kitts and Nevis’s Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), as well as new routes between the Dominican Republic and Orlando, Grenada and Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), the Bahamas and Los Angeles and Belize City and JFK.
    • Added new transatlantic destinations with daily service between JFK and Paris Charles de Gaulle, JFK and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS), and BOS and AMS, in addition to the announcement of two new seasonal routes to Dublin and Edinburgh, both launching in Spring 2024.
  • Advanced Our Progress as a Sustainability Leader
    • Reduced our 2023 carbon emissions by 6% versus 2019 levels driven by fleet upgrades, a doubling of our use of sustainable aviation fuel versus 2022, and fuel optimization efforts.
    • Furthered efforts to diversify our talent pool and boost career accessibility in pilot and technician roles through our Gateways Program, with two-thirds of participants from underrepresented groups.
Balance Sheet and Liquidity
  • Reached agreement to defer ~$2.5 billion of planned aircraft capital expenditures from 2024 – 2027 to 2028 and thereafter, providing a more consistent level of annual aircraft deliveries through the end of the decade.
  • Ended the fourth quarter with $1.7 billion in unrestricted cash, cash equivalents, short-term investments, and long-term marketable securities (excluding our $600 million undrawn revolving credit facility).
Outlook

“As we look ahead in 2024, we are seeing positive momentum in our revenue growth. Demand during peak periods remains strong, and we continue to manage our capacity during off-peak periods to reflect evolving demand trends. We plan to continue to refine our network and product offering to better serve our leisure customers while diversifying revenues with margin-accretive initiatives,” continued Geraghty.

First Quarter and Full Year 2024 Outlook

Estimated 1Q 2024

Estimated FY 2024

Available Seat Miles (ASMs) Year-Over-Year

(6.0%) – (3.0%)

Down low single digits

Revenue Year-Over-Year

(9.0%) – (5.0%)

~Flat

CASM Ex-Fuel (1) Year-Over-Year (2)

9.0% – 11.0%

Up mid-to-high single
digits

Fuel Price per Gallon (3), (4)

$2.87 – $3.02

Adjusted Operating Margin (1)

Approaching breakeven

Capital Expenditures

~$250 million

~$1.6 billion

“We remain intensely focused on restoring profitability, taking steps to ensure every dollar we invest is making an impact. As part of these efforts, we are carefully evaluating deeper cuts to our controllable costs beyond our ongoing fleet modernization and structural cost programs. Through these initiatives, coupled with the evolution of our network and product offering, I am confident in our ability to re-establish profitability and position JetBlue to restore historical earnings power,” said Ursula Hurley, JetBlue’s chief financial officer.

JetBlue names Warren Christie Chief Operating Officer

JetBlue Airways announced the promotion of Warren Christie to chief operating officer effective February 12, 2024, concurrent with the previously announced transition of current president and chief operating officer Joanna Geraghty to the role of chief executive officer. Christie will report to Geraghty.

“I’m thrilled that my first leadership appointment is to promote Warren into the role of chief operating officer, where he will help lead our teams in our effort to improve reliability and restore profitability in our airline,” said Geraghty. “With 35 years of aviation experience – 21 of those at JetBlue – he is well positioned to help us tackle the unique challenges we face while continuing to lead with safety as a core element of our culture.”

Warren Christie

Christie currently serves as head of safety, security, fleet operations, airports and JetBlue University. In his newly expanded role, Christie will lead the airline’s day-to-day operational performance assuming responsibility for the airline’s safe and reliable operations, overseeing JetBlue’s airports, flight ops, inflight experience, safety, security, system operations, and technical operations functions, as well as JetBlue University’s training academy.

Christie said: “JetBlue has a beloved brand and culture, and to keep customers coming back we must run a reliable operation and deliver on JetBlue’s award-winning service consistently. I will work to ensure our frontline crewmembers have the right systems, resources, and tools to support their continued success.”

Christie has a robust aviation career spanning 30+ years. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1988, he was commissioned as an Officer in the United States Navy where he piloted the F/A-18 Hornet. He served as a Naval Aviator and instructed at the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) where he led staff and student training and was responsible for the design of the graduate level strike-fighter tactics training curriculum.

Christie joined JetBlue in 2003 holding a variety of roles of increasing responsibility, including vice president, operations planning and training; vice president, JetBlue University; senior vice president, safety, security, and air operations; senior vice president, regulatory and training; and senior vice president, safety, security, fleet operations, airports and JetBlue University.

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