US carrier JetBlue is the first customer for the newly-rebranded Airbus A220 aircraft – previously the Bombardier CS300 – signing a memorandum of understanding for 60 firm orders for the larger A220-300 model.
The carrier plans to phase in the A220-300 as a replacement for its existing fleet of 60 Embraer E190 aircraft, so the Airbus deal is a blow to Embraer. JetBlue said its fleet review determined that the A220’s economics would allow the airline to lower costs in the coming years.
Airbus manufactures, markets and supports A220 aircraft under the recently finalised ‘C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership’ (CSALP) agreement, which was announced this week.
In addition, the airline converted 25 of its current orders for Airbus A320neo aircraft into orders for the larger A321neo. JetBlue’s A321neos and A220s will be powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF engines. JetBlue also has an option for a further 60 A220s beginning in 2025.
JetBlue chief executive officer, Robin Hayes said: “We are evolving our fleet for the future of JetBlue, and the A220-300’s impressive range and economics offer us flexibility and support our key financial and operating priorities.
He added: “As JetBlue approaches our 20th anniversary, the A220, combined with our A321 and restyled A320 fleet, will help ensure we deliver the best onboard experience to customers and meet our long-term financial targets as we continue disciplined growth into the future.”
Airbus said the A220 complements the A320 Family, and both the A220-100 and A220-300 models cover the segment between 100 and 150 seats and will serve a worldwide market for smaller single-aisle aircraft, estimated at around 6,000 such aircraft over the next 20 years.
Airbus chief commercial officer, Eric Schulz said: “JetBlue’s selection of the A220 aircraft as a complement to its growing A320 Family fleet is a tremendous endorsement – both of the A220 itself and of the way these two aircraft can work together to provide airline network flexibility and a great passenger experience.”
He added: “JetBlue will be able to leverage the unbeatable efficiency of both the A321neo and the A220-300, as well as taking advantage of the roomiest and most passenger-pleasing cabins of any aircraft in their size categories.”