Alaska Air and JetBlue: major aircraft fleet decisions still undone

Premium Analysis

The US' two higher value, lower cost airlines - Alaska and JetBlue - are at different stages in their fleet development.

Alaska has recently decided to restructure its order book, pushing back deliveries, and opting for a higher number of larger gauge 737-9 Max aircraft. Alaska is working to lower its annual growth levels and cut its capex in order to improve its margin performance.

JetBlue's fleet composition remains relatively stable now that it has selected the Airbus 220-300 (previously the CS300). And at some point in the not too distant future, the airline needs to render a decision about converting some existing orders to the longer range A321neoLR to support potential trans Atlantic operations.

It remains unclear when Alaska will make a final decision regarding the order for 30 Airbus jets it inherited with its acquisition of Virgin America. But given its drive to moderate cost increases and its historical ties to Boeing, Alaska is likely to tilt back to a single fleet type.

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