JetBlue are rather busy. As well as taking delivery of their first Airbus A321, they have placed an order for 35 new aircraft today. The order is split between:
- 15 A321ceo (current engine option)
- 20 A321neo (new engine option)
In addition, the airline has also chosen to up-size some of its existing orders converting:
- 8 A320ceo to 8 A321ceo
- 10 A320neo to 10 A321neo
JetBlue President and CEO Dave Barge says:
“We are pleased to convert some of our A320 positions to A321s, and order additional A321s to better match capacity with demand,”
“The A321 is the ideal aircraft for our high density markets. In addition, a subfleet of the A321s will power our Mint premium service on the New York-Los Angeles and New York-San Francisco markets. It is the right aircraft for JetBlue’s lucrative routes. We eagerly look forward to the Sharklet retrofits and -NEO aircraft to further reduce operating costs.”
Translation: More seats in planes and additional capacity for the airline as it grows. And savings in fuel costs as new aircraft come on-line, whilst saving money with existing aircraft by fitting Sharklet wing-tip devices to them.
This has come at a cost however – and its to Embraer, who will be delivering new E-190 jets to the airline from 2020 to 2022 instead of 2014 to 2018 as originally booked – deferring deliveries by a good 7 years. This action also reduces the capital expenditure for the planes by US$200million
JetBlue operate a fleet of A321s (with the upcoming MINT Business/Business Suite product), A320s and E-190s.
Seating is varied, but meets Airbus’s suggestions for long haul seating with an 18″ seat width (18.25″ on the E-190s) with a 32-33″ seat pitch in Economy.
Again, bigger aircraft and more seats = less cost to operate and more money in the back pocket for JetBlue.
The order today also is a celebration point for Airbus – it being the 10,000th order for an Airbus A320 family airplane. It also marks a very high point for Airbus USA – as this order will allow JetBlue to take delivery of the first aircaft from Airbus’s up and coming factory in Mobile, Alabama.
It’s an interesting time as airlines prepare to re-fleet for the future, and choosing the options that are out there that meets their needs. Efficiency is the order of the day now, as airlines try to wrangle every penny of value out of their aircraft… as well the customer.