ECONOMY

JetBlue's profit sinks 59 percent as fuel costs rise

JetBlue's first-quarter profit sank 59 percent from a year ago as fuel costs and other expenses rose and the airline made less revenue from every seat flown.

But the airline's earnings still beat Wall Street expectations and its shares rose more than 4 percent Tuesday morning.

The carrier said revenue for every seat flown one mile, a figure that is closely watched in the airline business, fell 5 percent from a year ago. CEO and President Robin Hayes said the company "took quick actions" to improve those numbers, which he said were below its expectations. In the second quarter, JetBlue said it expects revenue for every seat flown one mile to rise between 3 percent and 6 percent from the same period the year before.

JetBlue reported net income of $85 million, or 25 cents per share, in the three months ending March 31, compared with $207 million, or 61 cents per share, in the same period a year before.

Its earnings per share just topped Wall Street expectations of 24 cents per share, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue slipped less than 1 percent to $1.6 billion, missing Wall Street forecasts for $1.62 billion, according to Zacks.

Costs rose 15 percent to $1.46 billion, as expenses for fuel and related taxes grew 50 percent.

Shares of JetBlue Airways Corp. rose 94 cents to $22.69 in morning trading Tuesday.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on JBLU at https://www.zacks.com/ap/JBLU

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Keywords: JetBlue Airways, Earnings Report