JetBlue warns of higher cash burn as coronavirus rages

Q4 revenue could fall 70%

JetBlue Airways Corp. warned Monday that a resurgence in COVID-19 infections will cause the company to burn through as much $8 million per day during the final three months of the year.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
JBLU JETBLUE AIRWAYS CORP. 14.96 -0.32 -2.09%

“Booking trends remain volatile and the Company continues to believe demand and revenue recovery will be non-linear through the fourth quarter and beyond,” the company said in a filing out Monday. “We cannot predict changes due to additional COVID-19 related disruptions or other issues.”

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The New York-based airline expects fourth-quarter flight capacity to decline as much as 50% versus last year, worse than its prior forecast of at most a 45% drop. Quarterly revenue could fall up to 70% year over year, the company said, worse than the 65% decline that was previously forecast.

JetBlue had $2.8 billion in cash and short-term investments as of Nov. 27.

The airlines’ warning comes as passengers are taking a cautious approach to air travel amid the recent wave of new COVID-19 infections. Traffic through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints on Nov. 29 totaled 1.176 million, down 59% from a year ago.

The hesitancy of air travelers has resulted in the major airlines asking the U.S. government for a second round of aid. Airlines and the U.S. Treasury in April reached a deal on a $25 billion package that helped the airlines meet their payrolls while also compensating taxpayers.

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JetBlue shares were down 16% this year through Friday, underperforming the S&P 500’s 13% gain.