Jan. 30--Lower fuel prices and higher revenue from fares helped JetBlue, Savannah's newest airline, close out 2013 with record profits of $168 million, compared to $128 million in 2012, according to a report released Wednesday.
The airline posted operating income of $428 million for the year. This compares to operating income of $376 million for the full year 2012. Pre-tax income of $279 million compares to a pre-tax income of $209 million for the full year 2012.
For the fourth quarter, JetBlue had operating income of $115 million, compared to $44 million in 4Q 2012. Pre-tax income of $77 million in the fourth quarter compared to pre-tax income of $1 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Net income for the fourth quarter was $47 million, compared to JetBlue's fourth quarter 2012 net income of $1 million.
"Our record fourth quarter results top off an excellent 2013 for JetBlue," said Dave Barger, JetBlue's CEO. "Thanks to the hard work of our 15,000 crewmembers delivering a differentiated product to our customers, margins improved as we continued to pursue profitable growth opportunities while maintaining competitive costs. As we enter 2014, we believe we are well positioned to build on our 2013 success."
Capacity is expected to increase between 5 and 7 percent in 2014, with the Fort Lauderdale market figuring prominently in potential new flights, Barger told investors on a conference call Wednesday.
"Fort Lauderdale, the Caribbean and Latin America are the markets we're looking at for growth," Barger said, adding that new flights from the South Florida destination would likely be one-third domestic and two-thirds international.
Fort Lauderdale is also on Savannah's radar screen, as tourism and business leaders here are hoping JetBlue will consider a South Florida destination in the future for Savannah. The airline already plans to begin flights to New York and Boston from Savannah.
While Barger was bullish on 2014, he conceded the year hasn't started as well as hoped, with bad weather early in the month canceling approximately 1,800 flights and shrinking the airline's anticipated revenue for the period by about $45 million.
(c)2014 the Savannah Morning News (Savannah, Ga.)
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