JetBlue Airways just unveiled the paint job for its new Airbus A220 aircraft to be delivered in December.
The aircraft features JetBlue's classic paint scheme with a new tail design, called "Hops."
No routes have been announced yet but travelers can expect to fly on the aircraft in 2021, according to a JetBlue press release.
JetBlue Airways' first Airbus A220 just rolled out of the paint shop in Mobile, Alabama in advance of its December delivery as the airline embarks on a much-needed fleet renewal for its short-haul fleet.
The new jet comes complete with a new tail pattern, called "Hops," crafted by JetBlue's own designers in homage to the practice in aviation of hopping, where a traveler takes multiple short trips or flights that add up to a "larger journey."
JetBlue first placed a 60-aircraft order for the larger A220-300 in 2018, snubbing the Embraer E190-E2 aircraft given its history with the Brazilian manufacturer. Jetblue has since ordered an additional 10 Airbus A220s, which will be made in the US as Airbus recently finished construction on an A220 final assembly line in Alabama.
The Airbus A220 aircraft will be replacing JetBlue's 60 aging Embraer E190s used primarily on short-haul routes from New York, Boston, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. JetBlue took delivery of its first E190 in 2005 and the interiors haven't been updated since, while new aircraft have featured cabin and in-flight entertainment upgrades.
While Jetblue's A220 interior design remains a guarded secret, Paxex.Aero reports that the aircraft will seat 140 passengers in a 2-3 configuration. A JetBlue spokesperson, however, wouldn't confirm any details about the aircraft.
JetBlue estimates that the Airbus jet will offer a 40% reduction in fuel burn while offering up to 160 seats compared to the E190's 100 seats in JetBlue's configuration. Powering the new aircraft are two Pratt & Whitney PW1500G geared turbofan engines with wing attachments, known as winglets, adding to its efficiency.
The airline also hinted at using the airline on transcontinental routes, which would aid its new point-to-point strategy of opening more routes from non-hub cities. The West Coast, in particular, is seeing an increase of JetBlue routes from Los Angeles to cities like Charleston, South Carolina; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Raleigh, North Carolina.
Once the aircraft is delivered in December, JetBlue will be only the second airline in the US to fly the Airbus A220, which Boeing tried to keep out of the country when Delta placed a 125-aircraft order for the jet in 2016. The Boeing-initiated controversy saw Airbus take a majority stake in the aircraft and rebrand it as the Airbus A220, shedding nearly every reference to Bombardier and the CSeries name, apart from a small floor placard just beyond the boarding door.
Delta Air Lines began flying the smaller A220-100 model in February 2019 and will start flying the larger variant in November from its Salt Lake City hub. Air Canada began flying the A220-300 in January, making it the second North American operator of the A220, and David Neeleman's startup airline, Breeze Airways, also has plans to fly the A220.
The pandemic has lead JetBlue to accelerate deliveries of the aircraft to take advantage of its economic advantages driven by lower fuel consumption. The Points Guy reports that seven A220s will arrive at the airline in 2021 instead of an originally planned six, followed by eight in 2022.
JetBlue hasn't yet announced an entry into service date for its newest airliner but its press release for the A220 unveil states travelers will see the new design flying in 2021.
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