JetBlue‘s plans to extend its route network will unfold in stages over the coming couple years, as it reaches deeper into Latin America before jetting off to Europe. The company’s first A321neo aircraft is due for delivery this summer and the airline has a plan for taking advantage of its extended range. Service between JFK and Guayaquil, Ecuador will become the new longest route on the map beginning in December 2019, subject to government approval.
The new route was first tipped last week during the company’s internal strategy briefing that also mentioned the A321LR conversion and Europe plans.
That plan was reiterated in a DOT filing the following day.
This week we have the press release, detailing the new route and the value the A321neo brings to the operation.
The introduction of the A321neo to our fleet opens up a world of new possibilities as we think about the future of our growing network, building out our focus cities, and offering new and unique nonstop routes to our customers. – Andrea Lusso, director route planning
The new route will take over the title of JetBlue’s longest flight, besting the existing Boston-San Francisco service by more than 200 nautical miles. The A321neo adds 500 nautical miles of range over the prior generation of planes, making new routes like this possible.
Of course, there are also economic considerations around adding the longer routes. In this case JetBlue will be the only airline with nonstop service in the market, a position that should help it realize decent yields. JetBlue’s market position is also helped by its existing service from Fort Lauderdale to Guayaquil and Quito.
JetBlue also confirmed that the A321neo interior will closely match the A320 Phase 2 retrofits currently in progress. This includes the Collins Aerospace Meridian seat fitted with the Thales AVANT inflight entertainment system. The updated IFE kit features a wide range of movies plus 100 channels of live television on a 10.1 inch HD screen. The TV features a DVR-like pause and rewind function as well as picture-in-picture.
Every seat will have power available as well. Inflight wifi connectivity will be provided by Viasat. The coverage footprint of the ViaSat-2 satellite does not reach all the way to Ecuador, but passengers should have service for the majority of the flight. The launch of the first ViaSat-3 satellite will solve that coverage problem a couple years hence.
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