NEW YORK (AP) -- JetBlue Airways Corp. said Thursday that a key revenue ratio tumbled in March and that increased flying led to more empty seats.
The airline said that passenger revenue for every seat flown one mile dropped 8 percent compared with March 2013. That's a closely watched number in the industry and it falls when an airline fills fewer seats or sells tickets for lower average fares.
JetBlue said the revenue figure was hurt by the shift of Easter and Passover holidays from March last year into April this year. But Southwest Airlines Co., which also owns AirTran Airways, was faced with the same calendar and reported that the key revenue ratio rose 1 percent in March. Most other airlines have stopped reporting the revenue statistic with their monthly traffic reports.
New York-based JetBlue said traffic rose 0.9 percent over March 2013, meaning that passengers flew slightly more miles than a year ago. But the airline increased capacity by 3.7 percent — most likely by adding flights.
As a result, the average March flight was 84.8 percent full — a high figure by historical standards but down from 87.1 percent in March 2013.
JetBlue shares fell 27 cents, or 3 percent, to $8.72 in late trading. Airline stocks, which rallied Wednesday, were lower in trading Thursday, some by larger percentages than JetBlue.