NEW YORK – Privately held JetBlue Airways on Wednesday reported a third-quarter profit, citing its low-cost business model, even without cash received from the government's bailout of the airline industry after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The start-up carrier, which began service just 21 months ago and operates 84 daily flights, said third-quarter net income was $10.5 million and operating income was $11.3 million, on revenues of $82.6 million.
Results included a pre-tax gain of $6.7 million from government cash aid. Without the special item, income would have been $4.6 million, the airline said.
"To report a profit in the third quarter while most of our industry is reporting unprecedented losses is a great tribute to the dedication and hard work of the entire JetBlue team," said David Neeleman, chief executive. "Our growth plan remains intact and we are proud to say that we have not laid off a single employee, nor have we canceled or deferred a single aircraft delivery."
The only one of the top eight U.S. airline that would have been profitable without the government's help is Southwest Airlines, the industry leader in low-cost service.
JetBlue flies 19 new Airbus A320s. On track for delivery next year are another two A320s, followed by an additional 11 at the end of 2002. The airline will add 18 more daily flights by the end of this year for a total of 102.
Load factor for the quarter was 76.4 percent.
JetBlue initially reduced its flight schedule in the days following the attacks but is now operating the same number of flights prior to Sept. 11. By the end of the year, the airline said it will have about $90 million in cash.
From John F. Kennedy International Airport, JetBlue flies mostly to Florida and to other East Coast cities, along with some service to California and other western destinations.