JetBlue To Grow A321neo Fleet This Year– What’s The Future?

JetBlue is still planning to grow its Airbus A321neo fleet in 2020. Thus far, in 2020, JetBlue has taken delivery of four Airbus A321neos with plans to take on three more by the end of the year. These planes will do the airline well as it charts out a plan for growth.

JetBlue A321
JetBlue is planning on taking three more A321neos this year. Photo: Airbus

The airline’s fleet plan for the year

Three Airbus A321neos entered JetBlue’s fleet in the first quarter of 2020. On July 1st, the first day of the third quarter, the airline took one another A321neo, meaning four total deliveries thus far. The remaining three A321neos are expected to arrive this year. Alongside this, the airline is anticipating its first Airbus A220 to come this year.

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Financing has been secured for the A321neos

Aircraft financing is a big deal now. With airlines facing a cash burn issue and a bleak outlook, reducing capital expenditures– such as aircraft pre-delivery deposits– is at the forefront of almost every airline’s team. American Airlines has threatened to cancel some 737 MAX orders over a lack of financing. Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines raised enough cash and set some aside to finance new aircraft.

Jetblue layoffs
JetBlue is still recovering from the ongoing crisis. Photo: Getty Images

Without financing or cash, an airline will not be able to take on any new aircraft. However, JetBlue has found the requisite financing to take on the A321neos. These planes will be financed through sale-leaseback transactions– a very common financial transaction amid the current crisis.

The Airbus A220 is a gamechanger

If there is one aircraft that has stood out in the current crisis, it is the Airbus A220. Air Canada has continued to take new Airbus A220s, airBaltic has used the aircraft to jumpstart its successful restart, Delta Air Lines kept all of its A220s flying during the crisis, and now JetBlue is eagerly anticipating the first A220 arrival in December this year.

JetBlue A220
The first A220 is expected to arrive in December. Photo: Airbus

The A220 will reduce the airline’s costs compared to some of its current aircraft and will provide a better passenger experience than other aircraft. While JetBlue has not yet indicated which routes the A220s will fly on, but the airline plans on using the plane as a replacement for some E190 routes.

JetBlue at Washington Reagan
JetBlue’s A220s are expected to replace E190s. Photo: Getty Images

Why these deliveries matter

JetBlue has done something incredible– it has chosen to take on new aircraft while other airlines defer their long-awaited new jets. Delta has deferred its Airbus aircraft on order and canceled the purchase of A350s from LATAM, Cathay Pacific has agreed with Airbus to defer aircraft and is working with Boeing, easyJet has agreed to postpone aircraft deliveries with Airbus, among others.

However, JetBlue isn’t like the rest of the other airlines. It has seen an opportunity to grow and seized on it– growing its route network and beating legacy carriers to a strategy out of the crisis. So, taking on these jets, the airline has plenty it can do with the new aircraft.

The A321neos will work well on high-density leisure routes and longer routes, including Guyana. Plus, new aircraft require less maintenance and are more fuel-efficient than older A321s. This means that the carrier can better compete with lower fares and a lower cost structure, bolstering the airline’s position and potentially leading JetBlue to profitability.

The airline recently outlined its network recovery plan. As part of it, the carrier is doubling down on its point-to-point strategy with growth focused in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and Fort Lauderdale.