JetBlue has announced plans to add 30 additional A220-300 aircraft to its order book, accelerating the retirement of its Embraer E190 fleet.
This means that the carrier will have a total of 100 A220s in its fleet and on order.
The carrier announced its initial order of 60 A220s and the option for 60 additional aircraft in 2018, ten of which were converted into firm orders in 2019. Jetblue saw its first aircraft delivered in December 2020, and will take delivery of its ninth aircraft this month, followed by an additional nine this year, and a further 21 in 2023.
JetBlue says that the order will help it to keep costs low, stating that the A220 offers nearly 30 per cent lower direct operating costs per seat compared to the Embraer fleet it is replacing. The carrier’s last E190 is scheduled to exit the fleet in 2026.
Additionally, the aircraft’s range and seating capacity will “add flexibility to Jetblue’s network strategy” and open up opportunities for transcontinental flights and “new markets and routes not feasible with the airline’s existing fleet”.
The airline’s A220s are outfitted with 140 Collins Meridian seats in a 2-3 configuration, with a Thales Avant IFE system, 10.1-inch HD screens, high-speed wifi, in-seat power via AC and USB outlets, larger overhead bins and custom LED mood lighting.
Robin Hayes, CEO of Jetblue, commented:
“We’re already seeing benefits from the eight A220s we’ve added to the fleet, and we’re very happy to have more on the way. We’ve seen double-digit increases in customer satisfaction scores, and these fuel-efficient aircraft support our leadership in reducing carbon emissions.
“With 30 additional A220s on order, we’re in a position to accelerate our fleet modernization plans to deliver stronger cost performance and support our focus city network strategy.”
Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer and head of Airbus International, added:
“It is very rewarding to see a happy customer coming back for more aircraft not even a year after entry into service of its first A220. We salute our friends at JetBlue on this landmark deal.
“Over 700 A220 orders to date underscore the strong market appetite for this all-new single aisle aircraft.”
The carrier also notes the sustainable importance of the order, stating that it is prioritising fuel-efficient aircraft and engines to reduce emissions. Earlier this year Jetblue announced plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions across all operations by 2040.