Aviation News

October 29, 2013

JetBlue Airways Announces Earnings, Fleet Plans

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Written by: Ben Granucci
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On Tuesday morning, JetBlue Airways Corporation made several significant announcements. In its earnings statement, the airline reported that the third quarter of 2013 had their best quarterly earnings ever. Simultaneously, JetBlue also announced a significant resizing of their all-narrowbody fleet and their intent to add fuel saving Sharklets to much of their current A320 fleet.

For the third quarter, JetBlue reported an operating income of $152 million on $1.4 billion in operating revenues. This represented their best earnings quarter in the New York-based airline’s 13 years of operation. The third quarter also represented the fourteenth consecutive quarter of profitability. Compared to the third quarter of 2012, JetBlue saw its operating income rise by $31 million. Operationally, the airline saw a 5.4% increase in revenue passenger miles, leading to an overall percentage of seats filled with fare-paying customers of 85%.

JetBlue's first Airbus A321

JetBlue’s first Airbus A321

Subsequent to its third quarter earnings report, JetBlue announced a significant fleet restructuring which will take place in the coming years. This fleet restructuring includes a significant upgauging over the current mix of Airbus A320s and Embraer E190s, and contained 3 major components. First, They have opted to defer the 24 E190s that were due to be delivered in the 2014-2018 time frame until 2020-2022, maintaining a fleet of roughly 60 aircraft. Next, JetBlue converted a total of 20 future A320 deliveries to the A321.  8 of their orders for the current-generation A320ceo (Conventional Engine Option) will be converted to the A321ceo for delivery in 2017-8. Meanwhile, 10 A320neo (New Engine Option) aircraft have been converted to A321neos, to be delivered in 2018-9. The final component of the fleet upgauging is an order for an additional 35 A321 aircraft, comprised of 15 of the CEO model to be delivered between 2015-2017, and 20 of the NEO model to be delivered between 2018 and 2020. These new orders additionally include the 10,000th overall A320-family order in the history of the program.

Finally, JetBlue reaffirmed their intent to retrofit much of their current A320 fleet with fuel saving Sharklets. These wingtip devices help to cut the drag from an aircraft, reducing fuel burn by roughly 3 percent in the process. JetBlue has retrofitted their newest A320s with Sharklets, however older aircraft require additional modifications in order to be able to support the new technology.  The airline committed to purchasing the over 100 Sharklet sets necessary to complete this conversion earlier this year. However that retrofit program had been called into question at the Paris Air Show in June, when Airbus announced that it had decided to put the program allowing retrofits to older aircraft on hold. Today’s announcement marks the relaunch of that program, with the first conversion scheduled to occur in 2015.

About the Author

Ben Granucci
Ben Granucci, Senior Editor, is an aviation enthusiast and plane spotter based in New York City. Growing up in Connecticut, he has had his eyes toward the sky for as long as he can remember. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.



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