JetBlue Airways Corp. swung to a fourth-quarter loss, but revenue and margins were better-than-expected as the effects of an unfavorable foreign exchange rate began to dissipate. The company’s net loss was $129 million, compared with a loss of $373 million, or $1.31, a year ago. Excluding certain items, the loss was 36 cents. The company’s load factor jumped to 76.4% from 52.6% a year earlier. However, traffic growth of 161.6% was well below the 79.4% capacity increase that analysts had been expecting.
The stock has slipped 4.1% in the past three months, underperforming the S&P 500’s 1.6% decline. Total operating revenues dropped 5.6% to $1.83 billion from the previous year. However, capacity declined 5.4%. JetBlue Airways ended the fourth quarter with a cash balance of about $2.8 billion. For the first quarter, the company expected revenue to decline between 11% and 16% from a year earlier. For the full year, it expected capacity to grow between 11% and 15%. For the first quarter, the company said it expected revenue to decline between 11% and 16%. It is also expected to improve its operating leverage as it grows revenue.