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JetBlue Says Storm Cost About $30M In Lost Revenue

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NEW YORK (AP/CBS 2) – JetBlue said the massive Northeastern blizzard in December cost it about $30 million in lost revenue.

PHOTO GALLERIES: Blizzard Slams East Coast | User-Submitted Pictures

The New York airline said the storms, which hit JetBlue’s home base on Dec. 26, had reduced operating income in the fourth quarter by about $25 million.

The airline canceled 1,400 flights in a span of five days before, during and after the blizzard. It normally runs 600 flights per day.

Despite the snow, its traffic rose 3.7 percent in December, as fuller planes offset the storm’s impact.

Paying passengers flew 2.36 billion miles last month, compared with 2.28 billion miles a year earlier. The airline’s number of available seats rose 1.1 percent to 2.88 billion available seat miles.

Its load factor, or occupancy rate, rose 2.1 percentage points from a year earlier to hit 82.1 percent in December.

JetBlue wasn’t able to re-accommodate many passengers as quickly as in previous storms because its flights were so full around the holidays.

Its on-time performance plunged because of the storm. JetBlue said it operated just 58.6 percent of its flights on time last month, compared with 79.1 percent in November.

For all of 2010, traffic rose 9 percent. Its number of available seats, which airlines can expand by either adding flights or using larger planes, rose 6.7 percent.

Its average occupancy rate was 81.4 percent, compared with 79.7 percent in 2009.

JetBlue previously disclosed that it expected to record about $15 million of non-cash revenue in December related to the expiration of points from its old frequent flier program.

It also announced Tuesday that $12 million of this TrueBlue revenue will now be recorded from 2006 through 2009, during which the points expired. JetBlue now estimates that about $6 million in expired TrueBlue points will be included in December 2010 passenger revenue.

(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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