JetBlue Aims To Match Or Exceed 2019 Capacity In 2023

The carrier said it may pushback aircraft retirements to meet the capacity target.

Credit: Joe Pries

JetBlue Airways said expected delays in Airbus aircraft deliveries next year will not affect its plans to equal or exceed 2019 capacity in 2023. 

During an Oct. 25 earnings discussion, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said the airline looks forward to taking delivery of a handful of Airbus A321LR aircraft in 2023 for its expansion into Europe, “notwithstanding some modest delivery delays.” With respect to JetBlue’s planned growth in Europe outside its service to London Heathrow (LHR) and Gatwick (LGW) airports, Hayes stated: “Stay tuned for an announcement in the near future.” 

JetBlue is contractually scheduled to take delivery of 29 aircraft in 2023: 18 A220-300s, six A321neos and five A321LRs. But CFO Ursula Hurley said that “from a planning assumption perspective, we’re expecting 22.” She said JetBlue is “working hand-in-hand” with Airbus to mange through the delays in aircraft deliveries. 

JetBlue’s current projections for capacity growth in 2022 compared to 2019 are flat to an increase of 2%. 

JetBlue has some levers to pull to meet those capacity targets, including pushing back aircraft retirements and increasing aircraft utilization. Hayes said: “We’re trying to give as much color on 2023 as we can based on what we know today. We accept there is a macroeconomic question mark out there … [but] we’re not seeing signs of concerns” in passenger bookings.