JetBlue Expands Long-Range Plans with New Airbus Jet Order
New Airbus models at Paris Air Show open possibilities for JetBlue to become a premium player in cost-efficient and comfortable flights to Europe
by Lark Gould
JetBlue this week announced it is converting 13 aircraft in its existing Airbus A321neo order into the XLR long-range version for delivery starting in 2023. The aircraft will support JetBlue’s focus city strategy by allowing the airline to expand its focus city European routes from Boston and New York.
The airline also announced it is exercising its option to add 10 additional A220-300 aircraft to its order with delivery beginning in 2025.
“The incredible extended range of the A321XLR allows us to evaluate even more overseas destinations as we think about JetBlue’s expansion into European markets plagued by high premium fares and subpar service,” said Robin Hayes, chief executive officer, JetBlue.
Introduced just this week at the Paris Air Show, the A321XLR is the latest evolution of the A321neo aircraft family and features an extended range of 4,700 nautical miles – some 600 nautical miles more than the A321LR aircraft. The increased flying distance is made possible with an additional rear center tank for more fuel volume. And with 30% lower fuel burn per seat than previous-generation aircraft, JetBlue can maximize the benefits of single-aisle aircraft economics.
The A321XLR also allows JetBlue to evaluate new transatlantic options as the airline explores additional destinations it may serve in Europe. The XLR opens up possibilities for service between the northeast U.S. and destinations in south, central and northern Europe.
In April, JetBlue announced its intention to launch service to London from New York-JFK and Boston in 2021 using the A321LR (long range) aircraft. The XLR news builds on the previously announced conversion of 13 A321neos to the A321LR aircraft.
The A321XLR, a more fuel efficient aircraft than what has been available to date, allows JetBlue to evaluate new transatlantic options for additional destinations it may serve in Europe. The XLR opens up possibilities for service between the northeast U.S. and destinations in south, central and northern Europe. The airline says it is developing a reimagined transatlantic version of its premium Mint product, as well as an enhanced transatlantic Core experience for the A321XLR.