* Article last updated 12:29 UTC 31/08/2021 *
British low-cost and leisure operator Jet2 has made history by placing its first-ever Airbus order. The Leeds-based carrier is eyeing the European manufacturer’s A321neo model, and has initially ordered 36 examples of the type. This is an interesting break of tradition for the airline, which has typically preferred to operate designs from US manufacturer Boeing.
A ground-breaking order
Airbus has just announced that it has a new customer on its hands, in the form of Yorkshire’s very own Jet2. The airline, which has operating bases across the UK, has made an initial order for 36 examples of the Airbus A321neo. This is the largest model from the European manufacturer’s next-generation A320neo series. The aircraft was also the subject of a 30-strong increase to Delta’s existing 125-aircraft A321neo order.
This is the first time that Jet2 has ever ordered planes from Airbus. Simple Flying explored the possibility of this in an article last month, at which point it was in discussion with different manufacturers.” The move comes as the carrier looks to both expand and renew its fleet. Philip Meeson, Jet2’s Executive Chairman, welcomed the order, stating:
“This aircraft is, in our opinion, the most efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft in its class today. It will give our holiday customers a wonderfully comfortable and enjoyable experience as they travel with us for their well deserved Jet2 holiday.”
As well as the A321neo’s aforementioned efficiency, another advantage that the type will offer to Jet2 is its increased capacity. Indeed, the Leeds-based leisure operator plans to fit its 36 incoming brand-new A321neos with an impressive 232 seats.
These passengers will enjoy aspects such as innovative lighting as part of Airbus’s ‘Airspace’ cabin environment. Furthermore, they will also have larger overhead bins at their disposal, which offer 60% more space. Airbus’s Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer states:
“Traditionally having been operating non-fly-by-wire aircraft, we note with great satisfaction that, after having tested a couple of leased A321s and run a comprehensive evaluation, Jet2 is forward-looking and investing in modern and future proof Airbus fly-by-wire technology.”
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Previously a Boeing-dominated fleet
The fleet expansion and renewal that will occur as a result of Jet2’s ground-breaking order will fundamentally alter the makeup of its fleet. As alluded to, it has only ever operated Airbus planes on lease. According to data from ch-aviation.com, Jet2 presently has a single active 220-seat A321ceo, with a further two reportedly set to join the airline.
Otherwise, the situation at Jet2 has always been one of Boeing dominance. As it stands, the low-cost operator currently operates 90 aircraft from the US manufacturer. Of these, 75 are examples of the 737-800. These are the youngest Boeing jets in Jet2’s fleet, with an average age of 12.1 years. It also has seven 737-300s (23.4 years old on average).
However, Jet2’s oldest Boeing aircraft are its eight 757-200s. These aging twinjets are 30.9 years old on average. With a similar capacity to the incoming A321neos, these will likely make way for the new Airbus planes, the order for which Scherer describes as “a testimony to Jet2’s vision of efficiency, quality, performance and environmentally friendly flying.”
What do you make of Jet2’s 36-plane Airbus A321neo order? Are you looking forward to seeing these next-generation narrowbodies at the airline? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!