The A220 will join JetBlue’s fleet in 2020 and the company revealed some details on its role and layout during the all hands briefing at JFK Airport on Wednesday afternoon. President and COO Joanna Geraghty briefed the gathered employees on a wide variety of plans for the carrier, including sharing details of the new cabin and base for the aircraft.
The aircraft will be based at the carrier’s Boston Logan focus city to start according to Geraghty. It will also feature 140 seats on board.
The rendering shared during the event shows five rows of Even More Space seats on board, three at the front of the cabin plus a pair spanning the exit row over the wing.
For those hoping the JetBlue A220-300 would feature a window in the lavatory, akin to Delta’s A220s, that dream was crushed a month ago. Indeed, the rear lav will be in the galley space and a doubled up arrangement similar to the SpaceFlex setup on the new A320/A321 layout.
The seat count compares favorably to the layouts at Air Baltic and Swiss, each of which have 145 seats (one more row) on board. Swiss manages a mix of 34″ and 31″ pitch seating. JetBlue should be able to meet or beat those numbers given one fewer row on board behind the window exit. Korean flies the type with 127 seats. It also has five rows of business class (36″ pitch rather than 34″) so one fewer row ahead of the window exit. Korean also replaces three seats in the last row with a larger galley.
JetBlue’s focus on winning the hearts and minds (and wallets) of the Boston business traveler should be helped by the improved comfort and reliability the A220 brings to the table. The carrier has also suggested the operating economics of the type will enable a wider variety of cities to be served profitably. From the Boston hub that means more nonstop flights to more destinations those business travelers need.
JetBlue’s EVP Commercial and Planning Marty St. George previously tipped the idea of a “Junior Mint” premium economy product for thinner transcon routes. The A220 would be an interesting canvas on which to try to prove the value of such an offering, especially considering how close in seating it is to the 162-passenger A320 layout. Alas, that will not fly, at least not yet.
The A220-300 seat layout will leave JetBlue with three all-core fleet sizes to work with: 140, 162 and 200 seats. The 140 and 162 numbers are relatively close together but should still leave opportunities for market segmentation, especially given the operating economics of the A220.
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