About ten years JetBlue sunk alot of money into the Embraer 190, a 25 row with 4 seats per row for a total of 100 seats.
The purpose for these smaller jets was to service smaller markets like Worcester. Since JetBlue started flying daily to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, this is exactly the plane that they have been using.
The problem has been that the maintenance costs have been extremely high. From this Motley Fool column . “In total, between 2004 (the year before the first E190s arrived) and 2016, JetBlue’s cost per available seat mile surged more than 60%, from 6.1 cents to 9.9 cents.”
What are JetBlue options???? More from the Motely Fool column. Bottom line is the Embraer 190 days may be numbered at ORH.
Options for JetBlue
In the medium term, JetBlue is likely to keep most or all of its E190 fleet. Half of its E190s are on leases that don’t expire until the 2023-2025 period. The other half are owned but are less than halfway into their useful lives. Furthermore, JetBlue just signed a five-year paint and heavy maintenance agreement for the E190 fleet.
However, five years from now, the E190 leases will be close to expiring. It might make sense to retire the owned E190s around that time as well, due to the rising cost of maintaining them.
One option would be to double down on the Airbus A320. JetBlue will soon reconfigure its A320s to have 162 seats, making them much larger than the E190. However, their lower unit costs could potentially make up for the unit revenue hit that JetBlue would incur from introducing a larger plane on certain routes.
A second option would entail buying either used A319s or new A319neos to supplement JetBlue’s existing Airbus fleet. The A319 is a good deal larger than the E190. It would probably have about 132 seats in a JetBlue configuration. But that would be a much smaller jump in capacity than if JetBlue were to operate just A320s and A321s.
Third, JetBlue has had preliminary discussions with Bombardier about its CSeries jets. The CS100 is slightly larger than Embraer’s E190, while the CS300 is roughly comparable in size to the A319. These state-of-the-art planes are extremely fuel efficient despite their relatively small size. However, JetBlue would have to retrain all of its Embraer pilots, and it would have to continue managing the complexity of multiple fleet types in the long run.
Fourth, JetBlue could buy Embraer’s new E2-series jets. The E190-E2, which will enter service next year, is expected to use 16% less fuel than the current-generation E190. It is also supposed to have much lower maintenance costs than the first-generation E190.
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