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JetBlue plans large Airbus order

Associated Press / June 22, 2011

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NEW YORK — JetBlue is reshuffling its fleet, disclosing plans for a big Airbus order as it cuts the number of smaller Embraer jets it wants.

Over the long run, JetBlue’s moves will give it larger planes that burn less fuel per passenger.

JetBlue said it signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus for 40 A320neos, with deliveries expected to begin around 2017. The plane is a new-engine version of the widely used Airbus workhorse, which competes with Boeing’s 737. JetBlue said the new plane should be 15 percent more fuel-efficient.

The A320neo has become Airbus’s fastest-selling aircraft, with over 400 orders and commitments since it was launched in December. Airbus aims to deliver the first one in late 2015.

JetBlue said it expects to spend roughly $2.5 billion on its order. List prices for those 40 planes would be about $3.6 billion, although discounts are common.

JetBlue is also pushing back deliveries of eight A320s by two to three years, to 2017. And it is converting 30 of its 52 previous A320 orders to A321s, a stretch version that will seat another 45 to 50 people.