Yesterday, Airbus unveiled their A220, their rebranding of the CSeries. The aircraft has been touted as much needed addition to Airbus’ portfolio of aircraft. With airlines such as SWISS, airBaltic and Delta have already placed orders for the jet. With the new backing of Airbus, and the upcoming Farnborough Airshow, I expect that more orders will roll in soon. I did not, however, expect the order that was announced yesterday, well after the A220 was debuted to the public.
jetBlue Orders A220s
American carrier jetBlue has ordered 60 Airbus A220s in a huge shift from its current fleet of Embraer E190s. The airline has chosen the A220 for its range, fuel economy and because it will provide “”long term shareholder value”. The aircraft will replace the ERJ190s starting in 2020, at the same time the airline will begin to retire the E-Jets. The A220s are configured in a 2×3 arrangement, reminiscent of the MD-80s. They will allow jetBlue to replace the E190 on all of its routes, as well as add new routes due to its added range.
What This Means for Embraer
Embraer has been struggling to sell its E2 family of jets. The manufacturer has faced stiff competition from the A220, and other new entrants to the market. Although the new entrants are less successful, the SSJ and the MRJ already have orders outside of their home countries. The jetBlue order will likely be the final straw that pushes Boeing to partnering with Embraer in order to sell more aircraft. Both companies need the partnership, similarly to Airbus and Bombardier. What will the final agreement look like, I don’t know. However, every passing day the agreement seems more likely.
Having been born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, I am a big fan of jetBlue. I believe they needed to update their fleet, and by standardizing everything under Airbus, they will be able to save money in the long run. The A220 will open up new route possibilities, and hopefully some of these will be to/from Puerto Rico. For the whole press release, find it here.
What do you think? Should jetBlue have ordered the A220? Or should they have stuck with the Embraer E2? Let us know!