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JetBlue shares tumble nearly 19% after airline lowers 2024 revenue outlook

JetBlue Airways shares tumbled more than 18% Tuesday after the airline lowered its 2024 revenue forecast, a setback as it tries to return to profitability.

The carrier said second-quarter revenue would likely drop as much as 10.5% on the year, more than double the decline analysts polled by LSEG expected. New York-JetBlue forecast full-year sales would drop in the low single digits, also below Wall Street expectations, after estimating flat sales for the year in its January report.

JetBlue has been on a cost-cutting spree, culling unprofitable routes, and focusing on those with steady demand and high sales for premium seats. The carrier last month called off its merger agreement with budget carrier Spirit Airlines after a judge blocked that $3.8 billion deal on antitrust grounds.

The outlook update Tuesday shows a growing divide between JetBlue and its larger rivals that have big international networks like Delta and United, which have forecast profits, strong revenue and record demand this summer.

“As we look to the full year, significant elevated capacity in our Latin [America] region, which represents a large portion of JetBlue’s network, will likely continue to pressure revenue and we expect a setback in our expectations for the full year,” Joanna Geraghty, who became CEO in February, said in an earnings release. “We have full confidence that continuing to take action on our refocused standalone strategy is the right path forward to ultimately return to profitability again.”

JetBlue is affected by a Pratt & Whitney engine recall that has grounded some of its planes.

“It’s definitely a big hinderance,” Geraghty told CNBC of the engine issue. “Pratt’s a good partner. We’re focused on trying to make progress on compensation with them. We’re not where we need to be. ... But that is ultimately what is depressing our growth.”

Geraghty said the airline expects lower capacity next year.

In an investor presentation Tuesday, the airline said it was “actively exploring” more cost cuts. JetBlue earlier this year said it would defer $2.5 billion in aircraft spending until the end of the year.

In the first three months of the year, JetBlue lost $716 million, or $2.11 per share, compared with a loss of $192 million, or 58 cents a share, in the same period of 2023.

Adjusting for one-time items, including break-up charges related to the failed Spirit merger, JetBlue lost $145 million, or 43 cents per share, narrower than the 52-cent adjusted loss analysts polled by LSEG expected.

Revenue dropped 5.1% from last year to $2.21 billion, matching LSEG revenue expectations.

Bright spots included strong demand in the peak travel period, domestic and Europe flights “as well as continued outsized demand for our premium seating options,” said JetBlue’s President, Marty St. George, who returned to the airline earlier this year.

This article originally appeared on CNBC

Image source: Nicholas Economou | Nurphoto | Getty Images

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