JetBlue will deploy the Airbus A220 on 4 more highly competitive routes
JetBlue is expanding the footprint of its newest jet, the Airbus A220.
Over the weekend, the New York-based carrier filed four new routes for the A220, three of which break from the previous strategy of sending the plane to Florida.
Specifically, Cirium schedules show that the four new routes include the following from Sept. 8 through Oct. 30.
|Boston (BOS)||Austin (AUS)|
|Boston (BOS)||Fort Myers, Florida (RSW)|
|Boston (BOS)||Nashville (BNA)|
|Boston (BOS)||New York LaGuardia (LGA)|
Before the latest update, the A220 was exclusively scheduled on flights from Boston (BOS) to three Florida cities: Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Orlando (MCO) and Tampa (TPA).
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While the plane will continue to be based in JetBlue's Boston focus city, the carrier is expanding the A220's footprint to three cities that face increased competition — Austin, Nashville and New York.
Flying the A220 to Austin comes as the Texas capital has seen a dramatic increase in air service over the past few months, including expanded routes on American and Southwest, among others.
Of Delta's five pre-pandemic focus cities, Austin will be one of two to survive the recovery. (The other being Raleigh/Durham.) Ultra-low-cost carrier Allegiant is setting up a new base in Austin.
As for Nashville, the competition was heating up there at the outset of the pandemic, with Southwest growing its presence with a new terminal concourse and Delta operating a focus city there (which has since been scrapped).
Finally, the shuttle service between Boston and the New York area has long been a hotly contested market across nearly every major U.S. carrier, including American, Delta, JetBlue and United.
By deploying the A220 to the aforementioned cities, JetBlue can offer a more advanced onboard product than its competitors. The carrier's Airbus A220-300 is outfitted with 140 seats in a 2-3 configuration, with updated high-definition seat-back entertainment, free Wi-Fi, power outlets, USB ports and more.
With 70 A220s on order, this new fleet type is slated to replace JetBlue's aging Embraer 190 fleet. The aircraft has 40 more seats than the E190s, but it’s significantly more economical — it boasts 30% lower operating costs per seat, and it’s more fuel-efficient, too.
Related: Inside JetBlue's Airbus A220-300 inaugural flight
As for what's next for the A220, JetBlue says that more regional and perhaps even transcon markets are coming.
At the gate celebration for the A220's inaugural flight on April 26, Ursula Hurley, JetBlue’s head of treasury and investor relations said that "we’re very confident that this aircraft type will open the door for us to eventually serve a wide mix of new and exiting markets."