JetBlue Airways Corp. said Wednesday that it expects its operations will post a loss for the current quarter due to service disruptions which took place during last week's ice storm in New York.
Despite the warning, Jetblue shares rose 3.88 percent, or 50 cents, to $13.40 in mid-day trading on the Nasdaq stock market.
JetBlue said it expects an operating margin between negative 4 percent and negative 2 percent based on assumed gas costs of $1.89 per gallon, net of hedges. Before taxes, the firm expects an operating margin between negative 10 and negative 8 percent for the first quarter of 2007.
The firm had initially forecast an operating margin between 2 percent and 4 percent based on gas costs of $1.91, net of hedges. Pre-tax margins for the quarter had been expected to be between negative 4 percent and negative 2 percent.
For the 2007, the air carrier estimates its operating margin will be between 8 percent and 10 percent based on gas costs of $1.94 per gallon, net of hedges. The pre-tax margin for the year is expected to be between three and five percent.
The company has been on a public relations campaign to rehabilitate its image after a February 14 snowstorm launched a weeklong series of flight delays and cancellations. Among the most serious incidents was one ground delay at JFK airport in New York which stranded passengers for 11 hours.
On Wednesday, the company apologized to customers in full page ads in various east coast newspapers for mishandling the situation, expressing embarrassment.
A day earlier it had proposed a customer bill or rights to provide customers with vouchers for delays and refunds for cancellations within 12 hours of departure.