JetBlue Airways plans to postpone the retirement of its Embraer E190

JetBlue Airways, the major American low-cost carrier, has announced plans to postpone the retirement of its Embraer E190 aircraft to handle rebounding demand and new growth potential in the north-eastern United States its partnership with American Airlines. The replacement, which would be too big for just regional flights, will allow the airline to grow into other markets.

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JetBlue Embraer E190 heading out for Fort Lauderdale N228JB: Photo by: Jamaica Aviation Spotters

On July 27, 2021, the business had its quarterly earnings call, during which chief financial officer Ursula Hurley disclosed JetBlue’s net income of US$64 million and revenue of US$1.5 billion, both of which were more than analysts projected. JetBlue also revealed specific fleet-related ideas that will aid in the company’s expansion in the next few years.

The most significant change is that the carrier will keep its smallest jets, Embraer E190s, for a few years longer than projected, from 2023 to 2026. The airline intends to keep its 30 Embraer planes in service to promote the Northeast Alliance’s (NEA) potential with American Airlines.

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“In regards to the E190s, at this time we have delayed the retirement of the 30 owned aircraft, and we will evaluate over time the optimal time from a cost perspective, as well as capitalizing on the NEA opportunity to determine the most optimal time to retire those aircraft,” Ursula Hurley, acting Chief Financial Officer, said.

The airline possesses 60 E190s, with 100 passenger seats in a single-class arrangement, with half of them being owned outright and the other half being leased. Between 2023 and 2026, JetBlue plans to return the 30 leased E190s.

JetBlue uses Embraer E190s are ideal for a wide range of short routes. The jets fly to Detroit, Key West, Minneapolis, Buffalo, Raleigh, and Charleston, among others. The planes are used for leisure missions to smaller destinations as well as trips to rival hubs.

JetBlue Airbus A220-300 on final runway 1L at Tampa International Airport, Photo by Steven Larson Jr.

JetBlue intended to replace its Embraer E190s with Airbus A220s, larger, more fuel-efficient, and less expensive than the E190s. After receiving 70 more significant and more efficient Airbus A220-300 planes, the airline decided to retire the E190. JetBlue’s E190 planes have 100 seats while its A220 planes have 140. The airline expects to receive 60 A220s by 2025, with an extra ten planes arriving after that.

The Northeast Alliance

In July 2020, JetBlue and American Airlines started a US Department of Transportation-approved cooperation that inaugurated several codeshare routes. In February, both airlines started the Northeast Alliance on flights between Boston and New York.

JetBlue and American will operate more than 700 daily flights from New York and Boston as part of its Northeast Alliance this winter, giving customers more options than any other airline. According to the carriers, consumers have gained access to 57 new routes and more than 110 codeshares so far this year.

As part of its first phase, the new partnership would focus on 33 north-eastern routes and larger city centers, departing from either New York City or Boston. Both airlines have begun operating codeshare flights. JetBlue added 25 American Airlines routes, and American Airlines introduced 49 new routes. JetBlue’s fleet consists almost entirely of Airbus planes, except for the Embraer, which will be retired shortly.

As a result of the partnership, this year in 2021, the Customers have gained access to 150 worldwide destinations, including ten new international routes. These routes include New York John F. Kennedy International Airport to Tel Aviv, Israel, which launched in May including service to Athens, Greece, June, and service to Delhi, India, which will launch Oct. 31, 2021.

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