A third quarter pre-tax loss of $690 million has been reported by US low cost carrier JetBlue.

The year-on-year fall from a profit of $239 million in the same three months last year came as Covid-19 hit revenue by 76%.

Capacity was cut by 58% in an effort to manage average daily cash burn of $6.1 million, expected to fall in the fourth quarter to between $4 million-$6 million.

The airline, which has ambitions to serve London from New York in 2021, tapped a US government loan of $1.95 billion and was allocated an additional $27 million to an original payroll support programme allocation of $936 million.

A second negotiated agreement with Airbus was reached earlier in October to defer additional aircraft and associated capital expenditure over the next few years.

Overall expenditure since the start of the crisis has been cut by about $2 billion between 2020 and 2022.

Chief executive Robin Hayes said: “Our efforts to raise liquidity, reshape our network, and reduce costs, are bearing fruit, and have helped us navigate the immediate crisis.

“We are confident that our low-cost, low fare leisure model, with the best crew members in the industry, and a brand that customers trust, will all help JetBlue emerge stronger from this crisis.

“In the near term, we continue to manage our daily flying and take tactical actions to ensure we generate cash as demand recovers.

“We are also executing revenue and cost initiatives, redeploying our aircraft to new, cash accretive markets, and setting JetBlue up for a strong rebound.

“Naturally, we aim to be free cash flow positive, with the goal of repairing our balance sheet over the coming years.”

President and chief operating officer Joanna Geraghty added: “Our planning assumption for the fourth quarter is a revenue decline of approximately 65% year over year.

“Although there still quite a lot of uncertainty about the evolution of the coronavirus, we are starting to see the booking curve extend slightly into the upcoming Thanksgiving and December holiday travel period, and we are encouraged by customers responding positively to our promotional activity including an early holiday sale in late September.

“For the fourth quarter, our current planning assumption is for capacity to decline approximately 45% year over year, given our current expectations for improved bookings.”