JetBlue schedules its first Airbus A220 transcon routes

Nov 12, 2021

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JetBlue’s newest domestic workhorse, the Airbus A220, will soon flex its wings for some longer-range flying.

The New York-based carrier recently filed the first transcontinental routes for its new Airbus A220. The first one will take off on May 4, 2022, from Boston (BOS) to San Jose, California (SJC), followed in September by service to Portland (PDX), as seen in Cirium timetables. (Of course, schedules are subject to change due to the pandemic and other factors.)

JetBlue inaugurated its first of 70 Airbus A220-300s in April. The 140-seat plane is poised to become the backbone of the carrier’s short-haul domestic network, as the carrier phases out its Embraer 190 fleet over the coming years. 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.

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“This is a next-generation aircraft that combines comfort, style and substance,” Ursula Hurley, JetBlue’s chief financial officer, said during a pre-departure briefing before the airline’s A220 inaugural flight. “We’re very confident that this aircraft type will open the door for us to eventually serve a wide mix of new and existing markets,” she added.

In the six months since taking delivery of the first A220, JetBlue has been steadily expanding the plane’s reach, which has a range of up to 3,350 nautical miles.

JetBlue Airbus A220 (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

At first, the A220 was exclusively scheduled on flights from Boston (BOS) to three Florida cities: Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Orlando (MCO) and Tampa (TPA). Since then, the carrier expanded the A220’s footprint to three additional cities that face increased competition — Austin, Nashville and New York.

The A220 offers passengers a more advanced and modernized onboard product than you’d find on JetBlue’s competitors. It is outfitted with 140 economy seats in a 2-3 configuration, with updated high-definition seat-back entertainment, free Wi-Fi, power outlets, USB ports and more.

Now, the airline is gearing up to deploy the jet on transcon routes. In the past, JetBlue has served San Jose and Portland using the Airbus A320 from Boston, which fits between 150 and 162 passengers, depending on the configuration.

By deploying the Airbus A220-300, JetBlue will offer a better-sized plane for the market compared to the A320 — the airline flew 91 daily passengers, on average, in 2019 from Boston to San Jose, and 73 daily passengers from Boston to Portland, based on Department of Transportation data analyzed by Cirium.

The A220’s lower operating costs, improved range and modernized onboard product continue to make it a top choice for U.S. airlines. In addition to JetBlue, Delta and Breeze Airways (the new startup from serial airline entrepreneur, David Neeleman) have A220s on order or in their fleets.

To date, Delta has scheduled just one transcontinental flight with its Airbus A220 — a 2,306-mile route from Washington/Dulles (IAD) to Seattle (SEA) using the smaller -100 variant of the plane, according to Cirium data.

Breeze Airways hasn’t yet announced where it’ll fly the Airbus A220, but Neeleman recently mentioned “long haul” and “transcontinental” during his cryptic remarks to reporters at the carrier’s unveiling ceremony for the first A220.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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