JetBlue Airways swings to quarterly loss as coronavirus drove revenue down 90%

A Jet Blue aircraft takes off from Long Beach Airport in Long Beach, CA.

Tim Rue | Bloomberg | Getty Images

JetBlue Airways on Tuesday said it swung to a loss in the second quarter and forecast that revenue will fall by about 80% in the third quarter as the coronavirus pandemic promises a choppy recovery in travel demand.

The New York-based airline carried just 616,000 passengers in the three months ended June 30, down more than 94% from the 11 million who flew JetBlue in the same period last year. Revenue plunged about 90% to $215 million from more than $2.1 billion in the second quarter of 2019.

JetBlue is the latest airline to detail financial losses stemming from the coronavirus crisis, which kept millions of would-be travelers at home. Executives are warning that while demand bottomed out in the spring, a choppy recovery is ahead because of a surge in virus cases and new travel restrictions.

The crisis has been particularly painful for airlines because it is impacting the key summer travel season, the most lucrative for carriers.

JetBlue, like its competitors, slashed flights in an effort to cut costs as demand fell. JetBlue’s third-quarter capacity will be down “at least” 45% compared with last year, the company said in an earnings call presentation.

Cash burn in the second quarter averaged $9.5 million a day and will likely average between $7 million and $9 million a day in the current quarter.

JetBlue posted a net loss of $320 million for the three months ended June 30, down from net income of $179 million a year earlier. 

Shares in the airline were down nearly 1% in morning trading.

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