JetBlue Airways reported a first-quarter net loss of $1 million, down from a profit of $12 million in the year ago period, saying it is "taking the right steps to return to sustained profitability." JetBlue this quarter implemented a new customer service and reservations system.

"The first quarter presented many challenges, including rising fuel prices and several winter storms in the Northeast which severely limited operations at JFK, our home base," JetBlue CEO Dave Barger said. "We successfully implemented significant phases of Sabre, our new customer service and reservations system. Despite record first quarter revenues, these factors contributed to a net loss."

First-quarter revenue rose 9.7% to $870 million from the year-ago period. Fuel costs increased 14.3% to $254 million. Operating income dropped 43.5% to $42 million from the $73 million realized in 1Q09 on a 15.1% increase in operating expenses to $828 million. 

The LCC transported 5.53 million passengers in the quarter, up 4.5%. RPMs rose 7.1% to 6.47 billion against a 6.1% rise in capacity to 8.42 billion ASMs. Load factor rose 0.8 point to 76.8%. JetBlue saw yield increase 3.8% to 12.13 cents as average fare rose 6.4% to $141.98, its "second highest quarterly fare ever," Barger said. RASM rose 3.4% to 10.32 cents, while CASM ex-fuel rose 8.9% to 6.81 cents. It says it expects capacity to increase between four and six percent in the second quarter and increase between six and eight percent for the full year.

JetBlue will lease on a six-year basis, seven used A320s from GECAS which will be overhauled and returned. Three of the aircraft will be delivered in June, two in the third quarter and two in the fourth quarter, and it expects to use the aircraft to launch new service including Washington Reagan service to Boston (seven-times-daily), Fort Lauderdale (daily) and Orlando International (daily) beginning Nov. 1. It expects to have 162 aircraft by year end.