Fourth quarter 2020 revenue decreased 67% year-over-year as a result of the impact of COVID-19. The figure is better than previous expectations for the quarter of a 70% decrease and represents a sequential improvement of nine points quarter over quarter, mainly driven by strong booking trends in October and improved volumes in the second half of December.
The fourth quarter 2020 capacity reduction by 47% year-over-year has been in line with planning of between 45% and 50%.
Operating expenses decreased 38% year-over-year. Excluding special items, adjusted operating expenses decreased 34% year-over-year compared to planning a decrease of at least 30%. Results were driven by capacity actions taken to reduce variable costs and fixed cost reductions achieved by adjusting work hours and managing external spending.
JetBlue ended the fourth quarter of 2020 with approximately $ 3.1 billion in unrestricted cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments, or 38% of 2019 revenue.
The airline paid off $ 100 million in regularly scheduled debt and finance lease obligations during the fourth quarter of 2020.
The company has taken the following actions in the fourth quarter to manage liquidity:
Raised more than $ 700 million with a stock offering and sale and leaseback transactions.
“2020 was a year like no other, as the COVID-19 pandemic challenged our industry in ways we have never seen before. The very foundation of our business model, our culture, our passion for customer service and our focus on safety continue to guide us as we move toward recovery, ”said Robin Hayes, CEO of JetBlue.
“Despite the financial results, I am proud of what our crew members have accomplished in this extraordinary year. I couldn’t be more confident in our future. Our team not only managed to overcome ongoing demand challenges, but also made significant progress on strategic initiatives, including revenue, capacity and cost actions. ”
“As we move into 2020, we significantly reduced our cash spending and are beginning to shift our focus to rebuilding our margins. We remain cautiously optimistic that demand trends will improve later this year. More importantly, this crisis us it has become a more agile, creative and resilient airline, and we believe that our initiatives will allow us to emerge with structurally better margins ”.
“Consistently complying with our Safety from the Ground Up program continues to be one of the top reasons why customers return to air travel and choose JetBlue. Our focus continues to be cleanliness, reduction of touch points and air quality, and we are also prioritizing efforts to educate our customers on the changing regulatory requirements associated with air travel, whether it involves testing, quarantine or documentation requirements. We know that many customers want to travel and we are trying to help them navigate the changing requirements more easily, ”said Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue President and Chief Operating Officer.