MIAMI — New York-based JetBlue Airways and Airbus have announced today the upgrade of an existing order, which now includes 30 additional A321s (15 ceo and 15 neo) valued at $3.6 billion, as the carrier expands its Mint premium product, and seems to open the door to transatlantic services.
“Airbus has been our partner since the beginning, and we are proud that our partnership continues today,” said Robin Hayes, president and CEO, JetBlue. “The A321 is an incredible aircraft that is delivering results for our business. We intend to deploy many of these aircraft to expand our successful Mint experience and our west coast presence.”
According to Airbus, most of the new jetliners to be placed will be delivered from Airbus’ Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Mobile, Alabama. The first aircraft ever assembled at the FAL, an A321, was delivered to JetBlue (BluesMobile • N965JT • MSN 6512) last April 25.
The airline currently operates a fleet of 160 A320 family aircraft, including 130 A320s and 30 A321s. With the upgrade order announced today, the current backlog of the carrier will include 116 Airbus planes: 25 A320neo, 31 A321ceo, and 60 A321neo aircraft.
The new order will allow JetBlue to take delivery of the A321s during the next seven years. Further, JetBlue expects to take delivery of 15 incremental A321neos (new engine option) starting in 2020. Besides, the upgrade also allows JetBlue to take deliveries in Mint or all-core configuration, based on the evolution of the market.
“Mint won over customers in a big way and has transformed the performance of our transcontinental franchise. We have only scratched the surface on what Mint can do to disrupt the valuable coast-to-coast market” Hayes said.
Besides the flexibility to choose the cabin configuration, Airbus has provided JetBlue the possibility to configure its NEO aircraft in the long-range version of the A321 —the A321neo LR— starting in 2019.
In a recent Airways High Flyer interview, Marty St. George, EVP – Commercial & Planning, JetBlue, commented that the airline was not considering routes to Europe with the current fleet. However, he hinted that a long version of the A321LR could be incorporated to the fleet.
“I think the most important thing for us is that we’ve got to spend quality time working with Airbus on this, making sure that we’re at an agreement on what the range of the airplane is.” St. George said at that time.