The Airbus rebranding of the former Bombardier C Series as the A220 is off to a cracking start with an order for 60 aircraft from JetBlue worth $US5.4 billion at list prices.
Deliveries will begin from 2020 and the airline also options for an additional 60 aircraft. The planes will be powered by the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan (GTF) PW1500G engines.
The order follows a fleet review by the airline and includes a move to convert 25 A320neo orders to A321neos.
JetBlue said the A220 order would ensure the best financial performance for its fleet while giving it “maximum flexibility to execute its network strategy and enhancing its industry-leading customer experience”.
“We are evolving our fleet for the future of JetBlue, and the A220-300’s impressive range and economics offer us flexibility and support our key financial and operating priorities,” JetBlue chief financial officer Robin Hayes said in the announcement.
“As we approach our 20th anniversary, the A220, combined with our A321 and restyled A320 fleet, will help ensure we deliver the best onboard experience to customers and meet our long-term financial targets as we continue disciplined growth into the future.”
Airbus chief commercial officer Eric Schulz said the JetBlue’s decision to complement its A320 family aircraft with the A220 was an endorsement of both the plane itself and the way the two aircraft could work together.
“JetBlue will be able to leverage the unbeatable efficiency of both the A321neo and the A220-300, as well as taking advantage of the roomiest and most customer-pleasing cabins of any aircraft in their size categories.”
The US carrier said it conducted a comprehensive review of multiple options for its 100-seat aircraft. In addition to its financial analysis, JetBlue invited frontline leaders and crewmembers, including technical operations, to evaluate the aircraft in person at JetBlue’s JFK hangar.
It hasn’t said how many seats it will put on the aircraft, which can take up to 160 in a 3-2 configuration.
The Airbus aircraft will replace JetBlue’s fleet of Embraer E190 aircraft, which will be gradually phased out.
Airbus formally took control of the C series on July 1 and has pledged to build some of the aircraft at its factory in Alabama.
Delta Air Lines has also ordered the C Series/A220 which has been the subject of a trade dispute triggered by a complaint by rival Boeing.
Boeing recently signaled its intent to establish a partnership with Embraer it said would position both companies “to accelerate growth in the global aerospace market”.