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JetBlue's February Traffic Rises, 1Q18 RASM View Tweaked

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JetBlue Airways Corporation (JBLU - Free Report) posted a substantial rise in air traffic for February. Traffic, measured in revenue passenger miles (RPMs), improved 6.8% year over year to 3.69 billion. On a year-over-year basis, consolidated capacity (or available seat miles/ASMs) also expanded 6.8% to 4.47 billion.
 
Load factor or percentage of seats filled by passengers remained flat at 82.6% in the month as traffic growth was commensurate with capacity expansion.
 
The low-cost carrier registered a completion factor (system wide) of 98.4% in the month with 74.6% flights on schedule.
 
In the first couple of months in 2018, the carrier posted a 2.3% increase in RPMs while ASMs rose 3.3%, both on a year-over-year basis. Load factor contracted 80 basis points year over year to 82.2%.
 
1Q18 RASM View Tweaked
 
This Long Island City, NY-based airline now expects first-quarter 2018 operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM) to improve 3.5-5.5%. Prior guidance was an increase of 2.5-5.5%.
 
For the first quarter of 2018, the carrier anticipates capacity to grow between 3.5% and 5.5%. The metric is further projected to increase in the 6.5-8.5% range for the current year.
 
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
 
JetBlue carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the airline space are International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (ICAGY - Free Report) , American Airlines Group, Inc. (AAL - Free Report) and Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL - Free Report) . While International Consolidated Airlines sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), American Airlines and Delta Air Lines carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
 
Shares of International Consolidated Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have rallied more than 28%, 37% and 21%, respectively, in a year.
 
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