JetBlue today announced it intends to further expand its highly successful Mint experience by amending its purchase agreement with Airbus to bring additional A321 aircraft into its fleet.
Under the amendment, JetBlue will take delivery of incremental aircraft over seven years. Specifically, Airbus is scheduled to deliver 15 incremental A321ceos (current engine option) starting in 2017, with five Mint deliveries expected in 2017 and the intention for most incremental deliveries in the following years to come in Mint. Further, JetBlue expects to take delivery of 15 incremental A321neos (new engine option) starting in 2020. The amendment provides flexibility to take deliveries in Mint or all-core configurations based on market opportunities. While it has not yet committed to this fleet type, JetBlue will have the option to configure the NEO aircraft in the long range version of the A321 – the A321LR – starting in 2019.
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Carrier also considers routes to Europe with the A321LR.
JetBlue Airways Corp. is considering adding routes to Europe for the first time, a major strategic shift for the primarily domestic discount carrier.
Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s chief executive, said in an interview that trans-Atlantic routes “suffer from the same lack of competition and high fares” as cross-country routes in the U.S.
JetBlue will need to decide by late 2017 whether to opt for some of the long-haul variants, the CEO said, because it could take 12 to 18 months for the carrier to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly so far over water with just two engines.
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