JetBlue defers A320s: This US airline announced at its investors’ day that it is deferring Airbus A320s from this decade into next. JP Morgan had this commentary November 19:
JetBlue…announced a deferral of 18 A320-family aircraft from 2016-18 to 2022-23. While having a $900m positive impact on cap-ex through 2018, we believe the deferral should also limit near-term speculation on widebodies and Transatlantic expansion for several years. The reason? We believe the deferral was driven in large part by Airbus’ continued study of an ‘A321neoLR….’ Airbus continues to explore the development of a long-range version (3,900 nm) of its flagship narrowbody aircraft to serve as a fuel-efficient competitor to the Boeing 757-200W, with potential entry in to service by 2018-19. We believe such an aircraft would fit exceptionally well into JBLU’s longer-term expansion plans, though it does imply a Transatlantic future somewhere down the road, in our view.
JetBlue has expressed interest in entering long-haul, over-water routes, but it doesn’t have ETOPS qualification. If it were to do so sooner than later, it would have to either wetlease aircraft (as did WestJet of Canada) or lease the four-engine A340-300, a cheap lift with a modest capacity.
JetBlue also announced it plans to reduce seat pitch and add 15 seats to its A320s. This is 2 1/2 rows, so it sounds like it’s going the Space Flex route, with smaller galleys and lavs as well and smaller seat pitch. JetBlue has one of the most generous seat pitches in the US. Of course, one reason was that the standard A320s couldn’t make US trans-con Westbound in high wind conditions without a fuel stop and more than 150 passengers. Going to sharklets pretty much fixes this problem and the A320neo eliminates it entirely. JetBlue’s first neo, and A321, will be delivered from Airbus’ new Mobile (AL) plant.
Delta’s A350s: After we revealed in another global exclusive that Delta Air Lines chose Airbus A350-900s and A330-900s for its widebody re-fleeting, some of our readers speculated that cancellation in June by Emirates Airlines of 50 A350-900s might be where Airbus found the slots.
Not directly, at least. EK’s airplanes weren’t scheduled to begin delivery until 2019 and DL wants the airplanes beginning in 2017. However, it’s possible that Airbus found some early customers willing to swap their deliveries to a later date–but we have no idea if the EK slots are involved.
Another KC-46A delay? The Air Force Times reports there might be another delay for Boeing’s KC-46A tanker development.