JetBlue Airways Corporation (JBLU - Analyst Report) continues to strengthen its network in the Latin American region with the introduction of a new non-stop service from Fort Lauderdale to Lima in Peru. Lima is the fourth Latin American destination for JetBlue, and the southernmost for the carrier.
New York’s home grown airlines will use an Airbus A320 aircraft to provide service to the destinations and will take approximately 6 hours on the either way trip. The flight is strategically timed to connect with other destinations in the U.S. and Latin America.
The flight was launched on the fifteenth anniversary of the Open Skies agreement between the U.S. and Peru, which continues to be an important trade and tourist destination in Latin America.
Notably, with a low cost structure, the company continues to successfully expand its network footprint in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Latin America and Caribbean markets comprise almost one-third of the company’s total network. Recently, the company introduced a new flight service between Chicago and San Juan in Puerto Rico, where the company is the largest U.S. carrier in terms of capacity.
Similarly, the company is also banking heavily on the new services offered from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to different Caribbean and Latin American destinations.
Rival carrier Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV - Analyst Report) is also looking to tap the opportunity in the international market with its debut in the Caribbean, Central America, Latin America and Mexican markets by 2015. We believe that continuous route launches will allow JetBlue to hold a significant edge over its rival in these markets.
JetBlue displayed better traffic across its network for the month of Oct 2013. The carrier reported revenue passenger miles (RPM) growth of 7.1% while capacity grew 3.1%. Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) also increased 4% year over year.
JetBlue currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other stocks worth considering within this sector are U.S. Airways Group Inc. and Spirit Airlines Inc. (SAVE) . Both the stocks currently carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).