All the numbers look good for JetBlue at the moment, and they're happily touting financial success: Seats filled, profits up, fuel costs down...but they're not talking as much about what may come next—extending their route map to Europe.
There's just a bit of hinting from key execs, and an interesting provision in the airline's new aircraft order from Airbus. JetBlue has 30 more A321s on the order book, half for delivery starting next year, and half to start in 2019. The 2019 order has been amended to let the airline switch to a new A321-LR long-range model that could allow it to fly from the East Coast to Europe.
One of its big recent successes has been adding premium 'Mint' service to its previously one-class planes, with lie-flat seats and other amenities, at a price that has challenged the high premium prices on others. If JetBlue extends that concept to, say, New York and Boston to London, it could tap into a market that wants comfort, but not at super-high prices.
JetBlue has a bit over a year before having to tell Airbus if it will take the LR option. As JetBlue CEO told analysts, "This enhanced airplane type could be a game-changer for us..." Well, not only for them, if they do!
Airbus photo: JetBlue A-321 takes off from Airbus assembly plant, Mobile AL