JetBlue Airways Corporation (JBLU) reported earnings that topped consensus estimates, despite a decline, and revenues that matched expectations for the third quarter of 2018. The stock dropped over 2% in premarket trade on Tuesday.
Total operating revenues increased 10.5% to $2 billion from the same period last year. Net income dropped 72% to $50 million or $0.16 per share from the prior-year period. Reported EPS included $112 million in one-time costs related to the E190 fleet transition and the recently-signed pilot contract. Adjusted EPS totaled $0.43.
Revenue per available seat mile (RASM) grew 1.7% year-over-year, including 0.4 points of negative impacts from severe weather in September. CASM, ex-fuel, rose 3.2% and included a 2 point headwind from recurrent costs of the pilot contract. Load factor was 85.9%.
During the quarter, JetBlue’s results were impacted by fuel prices that rose around 37% year-over-year. The company is focused on improving earnings and margins in the near term and is taking appropriate actions to tackle higher fuel costs through fare increases and higher ancillary revenue initiatives. JetBlue is aiming for earnings in the range of $2.50 to $3.00 per share by 2020.
For the fourth quarter of 2018, capacity is expected to increase between 7.5% and 9.5% year-over-year. RASM is expected to grow 1-4% while CASM, ex-fuel, is expected to decrease between 1.5% and 3.5%. For the full year of 2018, capacity is expected to increase between 6.5% and 7% and CASM, ex-fuel, is expected to grow 0.75% to 1.75% year-over-year.
In the fourth quarter, the company expects to see revenue benefits from the network changes and ancillary revenue changes launched during the third quarter. JetBlue expects an average price per gallon of fuel of $2.48 in the fourth quarter.
The company anticipates paying around $45 million in regularly scheduled debt and capital lease obligations in the fourth quarter and around $223 million for the full year of 2018.