Discount carrier JetBlue Airways cut its revenue outlook for the fourth-quarter holiday period, saying sales of higher-priced tickets had not materialized as planned, and its shares fell 4 percent.

Other airlines said revenues were improving, suggesting to analysts that the JetBlue issue was company-specific and not a sign of a wider industry problem.

We had planned on the peaks being slightly stronger than maybe what the peaks are turning out to be, JetBlue Chief Financial Officer Ed Barnes said during a presentation at the Hudson Securities airline conference.

JetBlue added too much capacity and tried to raise prices in an environment where their customer is the leisure customer and pushed back, said Helane Becker, an analyst with Dahlman Rose & Co.

Avondale Partners analyst Bob McAdoo said JetBlue gave revenue forecasts that were not very good and had to correct them.

I'm not sure that there's anything going wrong, McAdoo said. JetBlue was just too optimistic.

JetBlue cut its fourth-quarter forecasts for two performance measures: passenger revenue per available seat mile and revenue per available seat mile.

The carrier forecast a rise of 10 to 12 percent in passenger revenue per available seat mile, compared with a prior view of 12 to 15 percent. It said revenue per available seat mile would probably rise 8 to 10 percent, down from the previous view of 10 to 13 percent.


U.S. airlines have posted improved financial results this year after travel demand diminished in the economic downturn. Bottom lines have been aided by returning business travelers, fees for baggage and increased fares.

Delta Air Lines Inc , the second-biggest airline behind United Continental Holdings , said it expected a profit in the fourth quarter, compared with a year-ago loss.

Our demand for Thanksgiving holiday was strong and it was up year over year, and we're expecting similar going forward, Delta Chief Financial Officer Hank Halter told the conference.

Bella Goren, chief financial officer of American parent AMR Corp , said advance bookings through the remainder of the year looked strong. Southwest Airlines Co noted booking strength for December and added it expected another solid revenue improvement in the fourth quarter. US Airways President Scott Kirby said he saw no evidence that things are sliding backward in terms of revenue.

The airlines also said they were keeping an eye on fuel prices as U.S. crude reached a 26-month high earlier this week.

Delta said it would continue to retire less fuel-efficient planes from its fleet next year, and Southwest said it was adjusting its fuel-hedge program to provide protection in 2011 and beyond. AMR cited its plans to add newer aircraft with better fuel savings.

While serious, the specter of higher fuel costs is not the threat it was a couple of years ago, AMR's Goren said.

JetBlue shares ended down 4 percent at $6.69, after trading as much as 9 percent lower. Delta eased 0.2 percent to $13.10 and AMR declined 3.4 percent to $7.71. United Continental Holdings was off 1.4 percent at $25.42, and Southwest shed 1 percent to $12.82. The Arca Airline index <.XAL> was off 1.1 percent.

(Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; additional reporting by Lynn Adler in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Matthew Lewis)