JetBlue Airways has become the first customer for the rebranded Airbus A220 aircraft.
The New York-based carrier has signed a memorandum of understanding for up to 120 A220s to replace its Embraer 190 fleet. The deal covers firm orders for 60 of the larger A220-300 variant, with a further 60 options. In addition, the airline has decided to convert 25 of its commitments for the A320neo into orders for the larger A321neo. Both JetBlue’s A321neos and A220s will powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF engines.
JetBlue said its plans to take delivery of five A220s in 2020, followed by four in 2021, eight in 2022, 19 in 2023, 22 in 2024 and two in 2025, with the options running on from here if they are firmed up. All the aircraft will be completed at a soon-to-be-built A220 assembly line in Mobile, Alabama which is due to open in 2020.
Robin Hayes, JetBlue Airways chief executive officer, commented: “We are evolving our fleet for the future of JetBlue, and the A220-300’s impressive range and economics offer is flexibility and support our key financial and operating priorities. As JetBlue approaches our 20th anniversary, the A220, combined with our A321 and restyled A320 fleet, will help ensure we deliver the best onboard experience to our customers as well as meeting our long-term financial targets as we continue disciplined growth into the future.”
The announcement will come as a blow to Brazilian manufacturer Embraer which had been marketing its next generation E195-E2 to the carrier. JetBlue said the E190 had played a key role in the carrier’s network since the first examples entered service in 2005, but a thorough review of its options determined that the A220’s economics would allow it to lower its operating costs.