NEW YORK – Hurricane Frances (search) may dampen earnings results of low-cost carriers JetBlue Airways and AirTran Airways, an analyst said on Thursday, as the storm makes its way toward Florida on what is typically a strong weekend in that region for the two airlines.
"With Florida preparing for a second potentially record storm, estimates are likely to fall, in our opinion, for both AirTran and JetBlue, with each carrier generating roughly 50 percent of system revenue in the state," JP Morgan analyst Jamie Baker wrote in a research note.
AirTran (AAI), has canceled all of Friday's flights to and frrier's revenue is generated by the Florida market, an airline spokesman said.
Passengers scheduled to fly into or out of Grand Bahama Island, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood, West Palm Beach, Ft. Myers, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville, Florida, Sept. 1 through Sept. 5, can alter their plans without change or cancellation fees or fare adjustments, the airline said.
JetBlue (JBLU) has waived its change fee and any fare differences for passengers traveling Friday through Monday to or from Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando, Florida. Those travelers will be allowed to postpone their plans through Sept. 13, the airline said.
Independence Air, the low-cost carrier launched by Atlantic Coast Airlines , said it will waive its change fee and fare differences for passengers flying to or from Jacksonville, Florida and Savannah, Georgia, from Sept. 1 through Sept. 6.
Bankrupt United Airlines (UAL) said it would waive all change fees and minimum night-stay requirements for customers with travel plans to and from places likely to be affected by Hurricane Frances, from Sept. 1 through Sept. 5, 2004. The waiver will apply to customers flying any United, United Express, Ted or a United code-share flight.
American Airlines said it has also waived change fees for passengers traveling through all Florida airports, Anguilla, Freeport, George Town, Marsh Harbour, Nassau, Providenciales, St. Croix, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Tortola.
Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises said it was monitoring the path of the hurricane, which has already prompted them to change the itineraries of six ships cruising the Caribbean.
Carnival Cruise Lines has canceled one cruise and has changed the itinerary of another. Guests on the cruise with the modified itinerary will get $100 in shipboard credit and 50 percent off a future cruise. Of Carnival's 19 ships, 8 sail from Florida.
Delta Air Lines (DAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL) have not canceled flights yet, but said they would announce any cancellations on Sept. 2. Delta said it has added several flights and larger aircraft to accommodate customer demand in the Florida market.