JetBlue Airways Corporation (NASDAQ: JBLU) and Spirit Airlines (NASDAQ:SAVE) are both mid-cap transportation companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their profitability, institutional ownership, dividends, risk, earnings, analyst recommendations and valuation.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current ratings for JetBlue Airways Corporation and Spirit Airlines, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
JetBlue Airways Corporation 1 8 4 0 2.23
Spirit Airlines 0 5 7 0 2.58

JetBlue Airways Corporation currently has a consensus price target of $25.60, indicating a potential upside of 29.88%. Spirit Airlines has a consensus price target of $52.10, indicating a potential upside of 46.88%. Given Spirit Airlines’ stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Spirit Airlines is more favorable than JetBlue Airways Corporation.

Volatility and Risk

JetBlue Airways Corporation has a beta of 0.53, meaning that its share price is 47% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Spirit Airlines has a beta of 0.57, meaning that its share price is 43% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares JetBlue Airways Corporation and Spirit Airlines’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
JetBlue Airways Corporation 9.78% 16.75% 6.99%
Spirit Airlines 9.62% 17.96% 7.61%

Institutional and Insider Ownership

84.5% of JetBlue Airways Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 97.0% of Spirit Airlines shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.6% of JetBlue Airways Corporation shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 0.3% of Spirit Airlines shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares JetBlue Airways Corporation and Spirit Airlines’ top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
JetBlue Airways Corporation $6.82 billion 0.95 $1.54 billion $1.97 10.01
Spirit Airlines $2.49 billion 0.99 $509.32 million $3.45 10.28

JetBlue Airways Corporation has higher revenue and earnings than Spirit Airlines. JetBlue Airways Corporation is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Spirit Airlines, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

Spirit Airlines beats JetBlue Airways Corporation on 10 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

About JetBlue Airways Corporation

JetBlue Airways Corporation is a passenger carrier company. The Company provides air transportation services across the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America. Its segments include Domestic, and Caribbean & Latin America. It operates various kinds of aircrafts, including Airbus A321, Airbus A320 and Embraer E190. It also provides premium transcontinental product called Mint. As of December 31, 2016, Mint included 16 fully lie-flat seats, four of which were in suites with a privacy door. The Company also provides Fly-Fi in-flight Internet service across its Airbus fleet. It provides its customers a choice to purchase tickets from three branded fares, which include Blue, Blue Plus and Blue Flex. Each of these fare include different offerings, such as free checked bags, reduced change fees and additional TrueBlue points. As of December 31, 2016, its Airbus A321 aircraft in a single cabin layout had 200 seats and those with Mint premium service had a seating capacity of 159 seats.

About Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines, Inc. is an airline company. The Company provides air transportation for passengers. As of December 31, 2016, its all-Airbus Fit Fleet operated over 420 daily flights to 59 destinations in the United States, Caribbean and Latin America. As of December 31, 2016, it had a fleet of 95 Airbus single-aisle aircraft, which are referred to as A320 family aircraft and include the A319, A320 and A321 models, which have common design and equipment but differ most notably in fuselage length, service range and seat capacity. As of December 31, 2016, its fleet consisted of 29 A319s, 45 A320ceos, five A320neos and 16 A321ceos. Its Bare Fares offerings are unbundled base fares that remove components included in the price of an airline ticket. It also offers Frill Control, which allows customers to pay only for the options they choose, such as bags, advance seat assignments and refreshments. As of December 31, 2016, its route network included 200 markets served by 59 airports.

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