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JetBlue expands Caribbean service, but posts its first-ever quarterly loss

It’s good news/bad news for low-cost carrier JetBlue this week. First the good: The airline received approval from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to begin flying its proposed New York/Bermuda route in May. It also announced it will expand its existing Caribbean service as well, adding two new flights from Orlando to San Juan and one new flight to Auguadilla. Both destinations are in Puerto Rico.

However, JetBlue also posted its first-ever quarterly loss for the period that ended in December, and expects to lose more money in 2006. This is in stark contrast to the airline’s previous profitability winning streak, and brings the carrier back to the pack with other airlines struggling to turn a profit in the face of high fuel costs and competition.

Chief Executive David Neeleman tells Reuters, “We need to get another $10 or so per ticket” to return to profits. Last week, the airline quietly raised prices by about $5.

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