JetBlue’s first revenue flight using their sparkling new Airbus A220-300 took off late on Monday evening. The aircraft, which Airbus manufactured in Alabama, is flying passengers on a commercial service from Boston to Tampa.
First JetBlue A220-300 passenger flight now in the air
The plane (registered as N3008J) is the first of 60 A220-300 aircraft the New York-based airline ordered back in 2019. JetBlue says the second A220-300 is due to land in the coming days. The third is due in May.
“We selected the Airbus A220 nearly three years ago, knowing its cost savings, superior performance, and customer-friendly design would evolve our fleet for the long-term future,” said JetBlue’s Ursula Hurley in a statement.
On Monday, the Airbus A220 departed Boston’s Logan Airport around 16:50 (local rime). At the time of publication, the plane is currently en route to Tampa with an estimated arrival time of 19:30.
“Today’s first JetBlue A220 commercial flight marks the culmination of our A220 journey coming to life,” says JetBlue’s Rob Dewar. Mr Dewar, a Senior Vice President at the airline, must be doing something right. JetBlue has named the plane after him.
Improved operating efficiencies back up the marketing spin
The nimble A220-300 is proving a hit across the North American airline industry. Air Canada and Delta Air Lines also fly the plane and are waiting for dozens more to arrive. David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways also has an order for 60 A220-300s. As JetBlue said on Monday, there’s a lot to like about the plane.
“Flying customers onboard the newest and most stylish member of its fleet captures the spirit of our vision when we designed the A220 as a truly innovative single-aisle aircraft. The A220 is an industry leader, setting the standard in cabin comfort, operating economics, environmental footprint, and digital capability,” Mr Dewar said.
There is also some hard data to back up the marketing spin. The A220 boasts a nearly 30% lower direct operating cost per seat than JetBlue’s existing E190 fleet. Lower seat costs come from both fuel and non-fuel savings. JetBlue’s maintenance costs will substantially decrease well into the decade.
The A220-300 opens up new opportunities for JetBlue
With a range of over 6,000 kilometers and reduced operating costs, the A220-300 opens up a swag of new route opportunities for JetBlue.
“The A220 covers a wide mix of new and existing market possibilities with excellent economics on short, medium, and even potentially transcontinental markets,” the JetBlue statement says.
“This will allow for better overall aircraft utilization and provide a competitive advantage for JetBlue, especially in short-haul markets. New cities, routes, and markets will be evaluated in the future as more A220 aircraft join the JetBlue fleet.”
JetBlue is outfitting its Airbus A220-300s with the Collins Meridian seat in a 2-3 layout. These are the only JetBlue planes offering this configuration. The JetBlue A220 will fly 140 passengers, including 30 seats offering Even More Space seating.
Every seat will offer a 10.1 inch, 1080P high-definition screen. The IFE will offer 30 channels of DIRECTV with DVR-like pause and rewind functionality, full seasons of shows, hundreds of movies, and premium content from HBO and ShowTime. Not bad for a short-haul domestic flight.
JetBlue plans to bed down their new A220-300s flying between Florida and the northeast for the time being.