FILE PHOTO: A JetBlue passenger jet lands with New York City as a backdrop, at Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, U.S. December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
(Reuters) – JetBlue Airways Corp (JBLU.O) on Thursday posted a $268 million quarterly loss as the coronavirus pandemic hurt air travel demand, and revised its order book with Airbus SE (AIR.PA) to save $1.1 billion in aircraft spending through 2022.
Since cases of the novel coronavirus began accelerating in March, U.S air travel demand has sunk by about 95%, forcing airlines to shift their focus from growth plans to parking planes and minimizing their daily cash burn.
While the overall number of bookings was “extremely limited,” New York-based JetBlue said it believed demand had reached a floor around mid-April and it expected to have a better sense of the third and fourth quarters by early summer.
Following measures to boost its liquidity, JetBlue expects its daily cash burn to fall to just below $10 million in May from an average of $18 million in the second half of March, excluding government assistance under the CARES Act.
The airline is set to receive $936 million in government payroll assistance, which bans companies from reducing their workforce until Sept. 30, and said it has applied for an additional up to $1.14 billion government loan that it can draw if needed.
Revenue declined 15.1% in the first quarter from a year earlier, including a 52% decline in March as the pandemic hurt demand and fares.
Net losses reached $268 million for the first quarter ended March 31, compared with a profit of $42 million a year earlier.
Excluding special items, the net loss was $116 million, or a loss of $0.42 per share.
Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Bernadette Baum