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updated: 7/26/2011 8:01 AM

JetBlue profit falls as rising costs offset sales

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Associated Press

NEW YORK -- JetBlue said Tuesday that its second-quarter earnings fell 19 percent as rising costs for fuel and maintenance overshadowed rising revenue from higher fares.

The airline, based in New York, said Tuesday it earned $25 million, or 8 cents per share, compared with year-ago results of $31 million, or 10 cents per share.

Revenue rose 22 percent to $1.15 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet Research expected a profit of 9 cents per share on $1.13 billion in sales.

JetBlue Airways Corp. says it paid 58 percent more for fuel between April and June than it did the year before. Maintenance costs rose by 29 percent.

JetBlue flew about 8 percent more passengers in the three-month period than it did a year ago, and it made 14 percent more per passenger, mostly due to higher fares. Its capacity, or number of available seats, grew by 9 percent as the airline continued its expansion in and out of Boston and the Caribbean. Planes were not as full as a year ago, but occupancy rates still topped 80 percent on average.

For the third quarter, costs per available seat mile -- a measure of how much it costs to fly a paying passenger a single mile -- are expected to increase between 13 and 15 percent. JetBlue said all of that increase is attributable to higher fuel prices. Excluding fuel, costs are expected to be down between 2 and 4 percent.

Capacity is expected to increase between nine and 11 percent in the third quarter and between six and eight percent for the full year.

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