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JetBlue Postpones Embraer E190 Retirement Plans to Assist Development

JetBlue has announced that it will postpone the decommissioning of the Embraer E190. The airline owns 30 E190 aircraft and plans to fly them beyond 2026 with no current set retirement date. The airline plans to keep its Embraer jets in service to support the opportunities available under the Northeast Alliance (NEA) with American Airlines.

JetBlue keeps its own 30 aircraft longer than expected. Photo: Getty Images

JetBlue is delaying the decommissioning of the Embraer E190

In addition to the earnings report for the second quarter, JetBlue announced several fleet-related plans that will support growth in the years to come. The biggest development is that the airline will hold onto its smallest jets, the Embraer E190s, for a few years longer than expected. Here’s what Ursula Hurley, Acting Chief Financial Officer, had to say about the retirement delays:

“With regard to the E190, we have postponed the decommissioning of our own 30 aircraft at this point in time and over time we will evaluate the optimal time from a cost point of view and use the NEA opportunity to determine the most optimal.” Time, these aircraft out of service to deliver.”

JetBlue GettyThe Embraer E190s are expected to be used to develop and fill longer-term growth opportunities under the NEA until more A220s arrive. Photo: Getty Images

JetBlue has 60 Embraer E190s in its fleet. Half of it is owned, the other half is leased. JetBlue still intends to return the 30 leased E190s between 2023 and 2026.

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JetBlues E190s

The E190 can accommodate 100 passengers in a one-class configuration. The aircraft are equipped with entertainment on the seat back and the aircraft offer access to free high-speed WiFi.

The Embraer E190 serve a variety of missions for JetBlue. They are great for a variety of short and thin missions. The jets fly to cities like Detroit, Key West, Minneapolis, Buffalo, Raleigh, Charleston and more. The planes operate on recreational missions to smaller destinations and for flights to competing hubs.

JetBlue planned to replace the Embraer E190 with the Airbus A220, which are larger, more fuel efficient, and less expensive aircraft than the E190.

JetBLue A220The long-term plan is to transfer the E190 from the fleet in favor of the A220. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Easy flying

How the NEA changes is important

The NEA with American Airlines is a big advantage for JetBlue as it becomes relevant for more customers. The airline can market American flights to places like Tel Aviv, Athens or Rome and one day Delhi, to name a few examples, to its own customers and help secure additional connecting flights.

Another aspect is an increased presence at LaGuardia. Getting a bigger presence here as a heavily congested airport is not an easy task, but the NEA has enabled JetBlue to have a bigger presence in LaGuardia.

JetBlue E190The Embraer E190 from JetBlue are versatile. Photo: Jay Singh | Easy flying

The question now is, for what occasions will JetBlue use its E190s and how long it will decide to keep the E190s. The aircraft are versatile and could also be redistributed to other bases.

The other option could be for JetBlue to use the E190 on regional routes that American Airlines has flown. This would allow American to use more slots and infrastructure for large gauge and long haul flights. Time will tell how JetBlue uses this fleet.

The NEA is also under attack by other airlines pushing for a more comprehensive review of the alliance. This could complicate plans across the board, although JetBlue and American keep pushing the NEA.

Glad JetBlue is delaying the retirement of its Embraer E190? Let us know in the comments!

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