JetBlue has just become the third US carrier, after Frontier and American, to order the A321LR, which was just launched at the Paris Air show this week.
JetBlue's A321XLR order
JetBlue's acquisition of A321XLRs isn't coming in the form of a new order. Rather JetBlue has converted 13 of their existing orders into A321XLR orders, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2023 .
With this order, JetBlue now has the A321neo, A321LR, and A321XLR on order:  JetBlue has 59 A321neos on order, with deliveries to start this year
JetBlue says that this A321
The A321LR has a range of about 4,000 nautical miles, while the A321XLR has a range of about 4,700 nautical miles
JetBlue's CEO, Robin Hayes, said the following about the order:
high quality fares and subpar service. ”
JetBlue doesn't need these A321XLRs to fly to Europe
Many of you may recall that earlier this year JetBlue announced their intentions to start flying to London or 2021.
While details are still limited regarding exactly when flights will launch, the frequencies with which they will operate, and which London airport they will use, it seems like they are operating the flights from Boston and New York JFK.
Today's order conversion has nothing to do with that announcement. The Boston and New York flights can be flown with JetBlue's A321LRs, which they'll take delivery of starting in 2021.
So it's not that JetBlue needs the A321XLR to fly to London, even if they might eventually use these planes for the routes
What could JetBlue do with A321XLRs?
The A321XLR has a range of 4,700 nautical miles, so here's the theoretical range for the plane from Boston:
And the theoretical range from New York:
In reality it doesn't ever fly quite that long:
- Planes never operate routes anywhere close to their absolute range, since they need fuel reserves
- The range doesn't factor in winds, and on transatlantic flights winds can be brutal going west depending on the season
But it does make you wonder what JetBlue could potentially be considering that isn't practical with the A321LR. The A321LR should be able to fly year-round with a fully payload to London, Dublin, Amsterdam, Paris, etc.
So, what could JetBlue think with the A321XLR? I'd say anything further than London starts to get to the point where an A321XLR could come in handy, including to Rome, Frankfurt, Munich, etc.
I suppose we could eventually see JetBlue flights from Fort Lauderdale to London, or even from Fort Lauderdale to South America. However, as they say these planes are intended for Boston and New York.
I doubt JetBlue has any concrete plans for flying deep into Europe as of now, though I think they ordered these plans because they provided
It's not too surprising to see JetBlue order the A321XLR. They're actually one of the airlines that asked Airbus for a longer range version of the A321.
While the A321LR does the trick for JetBlue's immediate plans for Northeast to London service, expansion beyond that could benefit from the flexibility offered by the A321LR
My guess is that JetBlue doesn't have anything specific in mind as of now. Rather I think they will launch London flights in 2021 and see how they go, and then they have a couple of years to do with the A321XLR.
What do you do for JetBlue's A321XLR order, and where do you think they'll fly them?