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JetBlue becomes first customer for newly christened A220

Less than 24 hours after revealing the name and house livery of the A220 series, Airbus has locked in the first deal for the aircraft.

JetBlue is betting big on Airbus’ new baby, the A220, formerly the C Series. The airline has placed an order for 60 A220 aircraft, replacing its Embraer E190, which it uses on many of its popular routes. The deal is valued at $5.4 billion at list prices, but a more realistic number would probably be about half of that, considering customary discounts.

Picking up orders quickly for the A220 is critical for Airbus, as it seeks to lower costs. To make the aircraft viable, there has to be significant reduction of costs in the supply. Airbus should be able to better negotiate deals and prices with suppliers but rising sales figures will help greatly.

For JetBlue, this new purchase will create an all-Airbus fleet, which is a clear advantage in many ways, not least in terms of reducing costs for parts and training. The airline has not yet decided what the seating configs will be for the A220-300s they have ordered, which can typically seat 160. JetBlue can also convert some of these 60 aircraft to A220-100s at a later stage, which can seat 135 – the seating capacities of both eclipse the 100 seats of the E190s that they are replacing.

The A220 series is far more efficient that the Embraer planes, JetBlue said in a statement. The aircraft also have longer range, which is in line with the airline’s future plans. JetBlue’s A220s will be powered by Pratt and Whitney engines.

JetBlue has recently started upgrading their A320 fleet, with wider seats, more legroom, 10″ personal TV screens with free on-demand entertainment, in seat power, adjustable headrests and more. This hints at what can be expected for the A220, which features a brighter, more roomier cabin.