Lufthanasa stake in JetBlue reduced US flyer's losses

Business Materials 23 April 2008 01:23 (UTC +04:00)

Germany's Deutsche Lufthansa buy into the US carrier JetBlue helped the discount passenger airline to minimize first quarter losses despite the soaring price of fuel, the company's figures showed Tuesday. ( dpa )

Lufthansa AG bought about 19 per cent of JetBlue shares for 300 million dollars last year.

First quarter losses were 8 million dollars, compared to the 22- million-dollar deficit in the same period last year.

Sales rose 34 per cent to 816 million dollars, which also helped reduce the impact of record jet fuel prices.

To cover some losses, JetBlue plans to charge passengers 20 dollars for checking a second bag, joining AirTran Holdings Inc. and larger carriers including United Airlines and Delta Air Lines Inc in the practice.

JetBlue reduced its capacity projections, joining larger rivals American Airlines, Continental Airlines Inc, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines in slowing growth plans.

"JetBlue is not immune to the unprecedented rise in fuel prices, and we are taking steps to respond to this environment," chief executive officer Dave Barger said in a statement.

JetBlue reduced its 2008 capacity growth target to 5 per cent at most, down from its previous goal of as much as 8 per cent.

JetBlue's fuel bill jumped 62 per cent to 308 million dollars for the first quarter.