JetBlue revises fleet plan

JetBlue Airways has announced a network-driven revision and extension of its A320 delivery schedule.

The moves include: a new order for 40 A320neo aircraft; the deferral of eight A320s from 2014-2015 to 2017 to smooth out aircraft deliveries, reducing capital commitment over the near term; 30 of the 52 A320 positions remaining on the current orderbook to be converted to IAE V2500-powered A321s, allowing greater network flexibility.

Meanwhile, A320 family deliveries starting in 2013 will come with Sharklet wingtip devices, and JetBlue will be a launch customer of retrofit winglets on the existing A320 fleet, in partnership with Airbus.

"Our network strategy, with its focus on New York, Boston, and the Caribbean/Latin America, is exceeding our expectations, and this revised fleet plan will help us continue to execute our strategy," explained JetBlue president and CEO Dave Barger. "Our goal is to continue to grow on a sustainable basis, generate positive free cash flow and continue to enhance our customers’ experience."

"With today’s announcement, we have taken significant steps in reducing our annual capital commitments through the next five years, while ensuring we are positioned for long-term success in a competitive, fuel challenged, environment," added JetBlue’s chief financial officer Ed Barnes.

In addition to the fleet adjustments noted above, JetBlue will optimise its Embraer 190 fleet to approximately 75 aircraft. "The E-190 is performing very well as our new, shorter-haul market aircraft, often serving to build the demand in the market for eventual up-gauge to our A320," Barger noted. "We are now at the point where the balance between frequency and capacity is tipping in favour of capacity, and we are exercising our most strategic asset – our orderbook – to better match capacity with growing network demand."

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