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JetBlue profit misses as costs rise

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JetBlue Airways reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit as costs related to salaries and wages rose and the U.S. budget carrier's average fare fell about 6 percent.

JetBlue shares fell 3.7 percent in premarket trading.

Revenue per available seat mile (RASM), a closely watched measure that compares sales to flight capacity, fell 3.5 percent in the third quarter ended Sept. 30.

However, New York-based JetBlue said it paid on average $1.48 per gallon of fuel in the quarter, compared with $1.85 a year earlier.

The airline said it expected fourth-quarter unit costs, excluding fuel and profit-sharing, to rise 4.5-6.5 percent. This includes a negative impact from Hurricane Matthew of about half a point.

Capacity is expected to grow 3-5 percent during the quarter.

The company said net income rose to $199 million from $198 million a year earlier, while earnings per share were flat at 58 cents.

Analysts had expected an adjusted profit of 60 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Costs related to salaries, wages and benefits rose 8.2 percent to $421 million.

Total operating revenue rose 2.6 percent to $1.73 billion.

Up to Monday's close, JetBlue shares had fallen 17.2 percent this year.