By Chase Hagl
JetBlue Set to Become Largest A220 Operator with New Order
JetBlue on Tuesday announced an agreement allowing the airline to exercise options to add an additional 30 Airbus A220 aircraft to its order book. The order brings the airline’s total to 100 A220s making it the largest operator of the type.
The New York-based carrier announced its initial order for the A220 in July of 2018. The original order was for 60 firm orders of the aircraft with the option for an additional 60. In 2019, JetBlue converted 10 of those 60 options to firm orders, leading to today, converting 30 of the remaining 50 to firm orders.
The announcement will accelerate the airline’s transition from Embraer E190 aircraft to Airbus A220s, moving closer to the retirement of the E190 fleet as a whole, with the last one scheduled to exit in 2026.
Currently, Airbus has delivered eight A220s to the carrier to date, with the ninth scheduled to be delivered later this month. The carrier has plans to take delivery of nine more within 2022, followed by another 21 in 2023.
“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,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International in a press release. “Over 700 A220 orders to date underscore the strong market appetite for this all-new single aisle aircraft.”
For an aircraft of its size, when it comes to fuel efficiency and economics, it is hard to compete with the A220. When compared to the E190 fleet it will be replacing, the A220 offers 30 percent lower direct operating costs per seat, giving the airline a huge advantage over its competitors utilizing older aircraft.
On top of this, the aircraft can be utilized on a much wider range of networks, tapping into a much broader range of markets compared to that of the E190. The A220 will allow the airline to target growth in its focus cities, as well as give it the option of longer, transcontinental flying.
In line with their sustainability strategy, JetBlue’s initiative to meet net-zero emissions by 2040 will be greatly aided by fuel-efficient aircraft. The A220’s Pratt and Whitney GTF engines, which deliver double-digit improvements in fuel and carbon emissions, will be an important step in moving closer to that goal.
Currently, Jetblue utilizes a configuration that consists of 140 Collins Meridian seats in a two-by-three arrangement. The airline continues to pride itself in offering the most legroom in coach. On top of that, passengers will have access to USB-C, USB-A and AC power at every seat, high-speed Fly-Fi, inflight entertainment on high-definition screens, LED mood lighting, enhanced bigger windows for better views, and much more.