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JetBlue 3Q net income rises 29 percent

NEW YORK -- JetBlue Airways Corp. said Thursday its third-quarter net income rose 29 percent as higher traffic from an ongoing expansion in Boston and the Caribbean offset the impact of slightly lower fares.

The New York airline earned $45 million, or 14 cents per share, compared with $35 million, or 11 cents per share, in the third quarter a year ago.

Revenue rose 9.4 percent to $1.31 billion. Costs rose 9.8 percent to $1.2 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected a profit of 13 cents per share on revenue of $1.31 billion.

Traffic rose 9 percent in the quarter and flights were slightly fuller. Yield per passenger mile, or how much money the airline makes to fly a paying passenger a single mile, rose less than one percent. That metric includes the base fare as well as onboard food and add-ons like extra legroom.

The average fare was down by 0.5 percent. The third quarter included the peak summer travel season but it also incorporates one of the weakest months _ September. Traffic at most major airlines fell last month.

JetBlue said its long-running effort to expand in the Caribbean and Latin America, where other airlines have pulled back, is continuing to pay off. It's also reaping benefits from additional flights out of Boston, where it caters to business travelers who tend to pay higher fares.

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