JetBlue Airways, New York`s hometown, low-fare airline, announced at the Paris Air Show today that it had signed a contract with Airbus for the purchase of up to 48 additional new A320 aircraft. Valued at more than $2.5 billion, the new aircraft order covers 30 firm orders, options for five aircraft and purchase rights for an additional 13.
JetBlue placed an original order for up to 75 aircraft and made arrangements to lease an additional seven in April, 1999. Since the original contract signing, the airline has exercised options to firmly order eight aircraft and acquired an additional aircraft via a leasing company.
This new order brings JetBlue`s fleet order to a total of up to 131 A320 aircraft, with a combined value of $6.5 billion. JetBlue has taken delivery of 14 A320s since it began operations in February 2000.
“The Airbus A320 has been integral to JetBlue`s industry-leading operational performance and consumer popularity,” said David Neeleman, CEO of JetBlue. “Passengers love the wider seats and extra legroom, flight crews praise the advanced flight technology, and everybody benefits from the superior fuel efficiency which helps us keep costs down and our fares low.”
“The speed at which JetBlue has found success is truly unprecedented in the low-fare market, and the fact that they did it with a fleet of all-new Airbus aircraft demonstrates that the right equipment can be a driving force, or rather flying force, for the right team of people, and the right team resides at JetBlue,” said No‘l Forgeard, CEO of Airbus.
Since launching operations 16 months ago, JetBlue has served some two and a half million passengers with a fleet currently comprising 14 brand new Airbus A320 aircraft. The airline, the best-funded start-up in U.S. aviation history, takes delivery of an aircraft every five weeks on average.
From February 2000 through March 2001, JetBlue operated 15,529 flights, with a completion factor of 99.5%, and leads the industry with an average load factor of 75.7% (or percentage of seats filled). The airline has recorded an on-time performance of 81.2%, compared to 72.6% for the top 10 airlines in the U.S, according to the DOT. JetBlue`s rate of delayed, misplaced or lost bags is less than half the majors at 2.54 per 1,000 bags handled, against 5.2 for the 10 major carriers.
JetBlue was voted #2 Best Domestic Airline for comfort and service in the 2001 Zagat Airline Survey and recently received top ranking (A grade) in an online survey by PlanetFeedback.com. According to the Department of Transportation, as of February 2001, JetBlue had received 12 complaints since starting service, which equates to less than one complaint per 100,000 passengers flown.
All JetBlue A320s are powered by International Aero Engines V2500s and are configured with 162 all-leather seats in a single coach class. JetBlue is the only airline in the world to offer 24-channel LiveTV at every seat, free of charge to every passenger.