JetBlue Airways announces fleet restructuring
JetBlue Airways announced (29-Oct-2013) a restructuring of its fleet as follows:
- The carrier placed an order for 15 A321ceo and 20 A321neo aircraft. The 15 A321ceo aircraft are due for delivery by 2017, with the carrier to begin receiving the 20 A321neo aircraft in 2018. The order is Airbus' 10,000th for an A320 family aircraft;
- A previous order for 18 A320 aircraft has been converted to an order for 18 A321 aircraft;
- A previous order for 24 Embraer E190 aircraft has been deferred, with delivery now scheduled for 2020-2022 rather than 2014-2018;
- The retrofit of 110 A320 aircraft with sharklets, commencing in 2015.
JetBlue Airways president and CEO Dave Barger said: "We believe these fleet changes will provide increased ability to match capacity and demand throughout our network and reduce costs, leading to improved shareholder returns over the long term. While the E190 is critical to our continued success in Boston and San Juan, we are now at the point where our network growth calls for larger gauge aircraft. In addition to allowing us to more cost-effectively serve certain high density markets, we believe our fleet restructuring plan will allow us to accelerate attractive growth opportunities at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport." JetBlue Airways CFO Mark Powers added: "With today's announcement, we are reducing our capital commitments through the next three years, which is consistent with our free cash flow and return on invested capital goals." On the conversion of the carrier's previous order for 18 A320s to A321s, Mr Barger stated: "With significant savings from increased fuel efficiency and better utilization of our airport slot portfolio in key markets, we believe these A321 aircraft will improve our company's profitability." Airbus COO customers John Leahy said: "JetBlue launched its business with an all-Airbus fleet, demonstrating they are a forward-thinking airline. The fact that they are turning to the NEO and larger Airbus aircraft overall makes it clear that they know how to please their passengers and maximise profits. In addition, JetBlue has always been a great partner in the Airbus Sharklet programme and have been instrumental in our ability to launch the in-service retrofit option." [more - original PR] [more - original PR - Airbus]