New York-based JetBlue has posted a 2013 first-quarter net income of $14 million, less than half of the $30 million profit recorded for the same period a year ago.

JetBlue reported record first-quarter operating revenues of $1.3 billion. Revenue passenger miles for the first quarter increased 7.6% to 8.5 billion on a capacity increase of 6.3%, resulting in a first-quarter load factor of 83.9%, an increase of 1.0 point year-over-year. 

Operating income for the quarter was $59 million, resulting in a 4.5% operating margin, compared to operating income of $89 million and a 7.4% operating margin in the first quarter of 2012.

“First-quarter results were solid but below those of a year ago, primarily due to Hurricane Sandy-related demand weakness in the Northeast during the peak Presidents’ Day travel period and higher than expected maintenance costs during the quarter. While the first quarter was challenging, we remain focused on achieving sustainable, profitable growth and are optimistic,” JetBlue president and CEO Dave Barger said.

Yield per passenger mile in the first quarter was 13.9 cents, up 0.7% compared to the first quarter of 2012. Passenger revenue per available seat mile increased 1.8% year over year to 11.7 cents and operating revenue per available seat mile increased 1.5% year over year to 12.8 cents.

Operating costs increased 11.3%, or $126 million. JetBlue's operating expense per available seat mile (CASM) for the first quarter increased 4.6% to 12.2 cents. Excluding fuel and profit sharing, CASM increased 6.6% to 7.6 cents. JetBlue said this was driven in part by approximately $20 million of higher than expected maintenance costs related to its Embraer E-190 aircraft.   

JetBlue ended the first quarter with approximately $849 million in unrestricted cash and short term investments. 

The carrier said CASM for the full year is expected to increase between 1.5% and 3.5% compared with 2012.  Excluding fuel and profit sharing, CASM in 2013 is expected to increase between 2% and 4% year-over-year.