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JetBlue Withdraws Q1 & 2020 Guidance on Coronavirus Scare

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JetBlue Airways Corporation JBLU withdrew its first-quarter 2020 and full-year outlook amid uncertainty surrounding the novel coronavirus’ impact on air travel demand. Following this announcement, shares of the company declined 3.5% at the close of business on Mar 9.

Plagued by virus-related fears, the company was experiencing “significant deterioration” in forward bookings since late February. The airline is taking substantial measures to counteract the effect of this decrease in travel demand. Earlier in the month, JetBlue announced plans to cut capacity by approximately 5% in the near term. The carrier is also making cost-control efforts, such as "delaying or canceling upcoming events and meetings" and "reducing hiring for frontline and support center positions".

Shares of the company have plunged more than 33% in a month compared with the industry’s 26.4% decline due to the coronavirus-induced weak demand.


 

The rapid spread of the coronavirus hit the airline industry quite hard with numerous airlines slashing capacity as demand drops relentlessly. Due to ambiguity concerning the duration of this ongoing crisis, last month, United Airlines (UAL - Free Report) with greater international exposure among U.S. airlines, withdrew its 2020 view. Being gravely affected, the carrier also took some drastic actions like putting a halt to hiring (except for crucial roles), delaying 2019 merit salary hikes and giving employees the option to apply for unpaid leave of absence voluntarily.
 
Zacks Rank & Key Picks

JetBlue carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the same space are Spirit Airlines, Inc. (SAVE - Free Report) and Azul S.A. (AZUL - Free Report) , both sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

While Spirit’s earnings surpassed estimates in three (in-line EPS in one) of the last four quarters, the average beat being 2.8%, Azul’s bottom line outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the preceding four quarters, the average being 199%.

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