There was plenty of bad news in the latest quarterly report from Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation JetBlue
Start by looking for other profitable airlines. Among the major carriers, Southwest Airlines'
What is amazing is that JetBlue was profitable while growing available seat miles (the industry measure for capacity) by 33% while others contracted or stood still. It is even more amazing that this profitable growth occurred while four hurricanes ravaged the company's key operating areas and fuel prices soared.
What makes JetBlue unique? Many will point to 36 channels of DirecTV
But that formula has another element. When fellow contributor Tom Taulli saw I was going to write about JetBlue, he emailed me about CEO David Neeleman and his latest trip on JetBlue. Tom, like me, has seen Mr. Neeleman working as we passed through the company's New York hub. This is not a CEO stuck in a walnut-paneled office out of touch with customers and employees. He is hands-on -- and that (amazingly?) probably accounts for his understanding of what passengers want and what it takes to provide it.
JetBlue's stock is trading at 52 times current-year estimates and 39 times 2005 estimates. That is far from cheap. But, when operating expenses are 6.08 cents per operating mile -- and competitor Southwest is at 7.61 cents -- there is clearly room for this amazing story, like a fine wine, to improve with age.
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Fool contributor W.D. Crotty does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.