JetBlue’s first Airbus A220 nears completion in Alabama
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
JetBlue’s first Airbus A220 will be made in America, and will be the first jet of the type to come off a new dedicated production line in Mobile, Alabama.
The aircraft is scheduled to be delivered to JetBlue later this year, according to the latest production schedule, and the airline plans to configure the plane to carry around 130 passengers in a 2-3 configuration.
While some A220s were already being built in Mobile, they were put together on a borrowed A320 production line. The JetBlue-bound airframe will be the first to roll out of a newly-expanded facility, dedicated to producing the smaller A220 line.
Airbus’ A220 is poised to become an even more important part of many airlines’ fleets — not just JetBlue’s — as the industry slowly rebounds from coronavirus.
Aviation experts have predicted it will take a number of years for passenger traffic to return to its pre-pandemic peak, meaning the A220’s position as a lower-capacity mainline jet makes it well-suited for the industry’s needs during the first phase of recovery.
In a call with investors earlier this month, Steve Priest, JetBlue’s chief financial officer, said he is “pleased” to be introducing an aircraft with such “spectacular” economics into JetBlue’s fleet. He added that the pandemic has not changed the niche that the A220 will fill for the airline.
Airbus announced the opening of a new 270,000 square-foot final assembly hangar Tuesday, completing its first dedicated A220 production line in the U.S.
“The expansion of our commercial aircraft production in Mobile to a second product line further solidifies Airbus’ standing as a truly global aircraft manufacturer, and confirms that Airbus is an important part of the American manufacturing landscape,” Paul Gaskell, head of the A220 program in Mobile, said in a statement. “This A220 assembly line will help satisfy the U.S. demand for the A220 aircraft.”
As if to prove Gaskell’s point, as airlines around the world have grounded large swathes of their fleet, most A220s remain on the schedule. For example, Delta — currently one of the world’s largest operators of the jet — has kept all of its A220s in the air, even as it has announced the retirement of whole other fleets, including its MD-80s and Boeing 777s. The big Boeing, of course, is not a competitor to the A220, though its retirement does underscore how the requirements for airlines’ fleets are rapidly changing.
JetBlue has 70 A220s on order, and after receiving its first later this year, expects to take seven more in 2021.
Featured image courtesy of Airbus.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.