Thu, May 29, 2008
Says Move Will Help "Moderate" Growth In Coming Years
Like almost every problem facing US airlines today, you can
blame it on fuel prices. JetBlue Airways announced Tuesday it plans
to defer 21 Airbus A320s originally scheduled for delivery between
2009 through 2011 to 2014 through 2015.
"In the face of escalating fuel costs, we believe it is
essential to take a more financially conservative approach to
managing our business," said Dave Barger, JetBlue's CEO. "The
aircraft deferrals we announced today will help us further moderate
our growth rate in 2009 and beyond, which will enhance liquidity
and defer future debt obligations.
"We would like to thank our partners at Airbus and International
Aero Engines for their continued support and commitment to the
long-term success of JetBlue," Barger added.
JetBlue is hardly alone in taking steps to curb capacity growth
-- most legacy carriers are grounding their oldest planes to cut
available seats, and even low-cost giant Southwest has scaled back
its plans to grow in coming years. JetBlue is also among a number
of airlines to admit they've slowed down their planes inflight, in
order to save precious fuel at the expense of a few extra minutes
of flying time.
In 2006, JetBlue cut the number of available seats on its
A320 narrowbodies -- from 156 seats, to 150. Besides
allowing the carrier to tout the expanded legroom created through
the absence of an entire seating row, the cut also allows JetBlue
to fly with only three flight attendants onboard its A320s, instead
of four. Fewer seats onboard also translates to lower weight.
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