JetBlue CEO David Barger at CAPA’s Airlines in Transition conference in Dublin said (12-Apr-2013) JetBlue is working with other carriers to have Airbus commit to a sharklet retrofit programme by the Paris Air Show in Jun-2013. JetBlue has already retrofitted some A320s, but these are newer A320s that can support the retrofit programme, which older A320s cannot.
JetBlue wants Airbus to commit to sharklet retrofit programme by Paris Air Show
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jetBlue Airways keeps long-term cost performance in sight as US pricing trends start to stabilise
After outperforming the industry throughout most of 2015 in its unit revenue performance, jetBlue Airways has posted negative results throughout 2016, driven by a weaker pricing environment in the US market. Unlike other airlines, jetBlue does not provide much forward guidance about unit revenue, and is not venturing to offer a timeframe for a return to positive unit revenue. For 4Q2016 the airline is facing pressure from the timing of the Christmas holiday, and the effects of suspended operations due to hurricane Matthew in Oct-2016.
jetBlue is noticing similar trends to those at other US airlines – generally, close-in bookings and pricing began to improve in 3Q2016. Most US airlines are planning lower year-on-year capacity growth in 2017; these include jetBlue, which expects its supply to drop a couple of points below 2016 levels. jetBlue’s 2017 capacity will still run higher than that of some of the larger and more mature US airlines, but the company always stresses that it remains in growth mode, reflected in the introduction of eleven new routes from late 2016 through 1H2016.
jetBlue Airways, armed with its premium product Mint, is poised to disrupt the trans-Atlantic market
Periodically throughout the last few years jetBlue has hinted that long haul trans-Atlantic flights could be a possibility at some point in its evolution. But in mid-2016 the company took a more concrete step towards serving trans-Atlantic routes by altering its Airbus order book – potentially to support long haul expansion.
JetBlue’s decision to option the Airbus A321LR occurs at a time when airlines such as WestJet, Norwegian Air Shuttle and WOW Air are pushing the low cost model into the long haul international market. Perhaps the steps those airlines are taking to carve out the low cost niche in the long haul space has accelerated jetBlue’s evaluations of trans-Atlantic service. The company has declared that it would make a decision about its options for the long-range Airbus narrowbody in 2017 ahead of the narrowbody’s debut in 2019.
The biggest drivers for jetBlue’s decision to enter the long haul trans-Atlantic market are identifying routes where it can inject low fares to stimulate traffic and drive revenue. The company’s base in Boston is emerging as the epicentre for those potential opportunities.