“We need to run a tight ship, down to the ve­ry last de­tail. The fai­lings of some air­lines we have ob­ser­ved are due to mo­dels that were not clo­se­ly control­led”

La Tribune Hebdomadaire - - COMPETITIO­N -

MARC RO­CHET, CEO OF FRENCH BEE

On pa­per, JetB­lue ticks all the right boxes to suc­ceed where others have fai­led. Most im­por­tant­ly, JetB­lue is a big air­line, big­ger than ea­syJet for example. Last year it car­ried more than 40 mil­lion pas­sen­gers on its fleet of 240 planes. Ge­ne­ra­ting re­ve­nues of over $7.5 mil­lion a year, the air­line is post­ing so­lid re­sults. Un­like all the other low-cost players on to­day’s trans­at­lan­tic route, JetB­lue could feed its long-haul flights with connec­ting pas­sen­gers thanks to the scale of its net­work of des­ti­na­tions in New York and Bos­ton. At JFK, JetB­lue is one of Del­ta’s main ope­ra­tors. Nei­ther will the air­line have a pro­blem ma­king it­self known consi­de­ring its strong re­pu­ta­tion for ser­vice qua­li­ty. The type of air­craft JetB­lue in­tends to use for these trans­at­lan­tic flights is al­so a plus. It will convert some of its A321­neo or­ders in­to A321LRs, the long-haul ver­sion of this me­dium-haul air­craft. Chea­per than wide-bo­dy air­craft, these planes are al­so ea­sier to fill since they have a lo­wer ca­pa­ci­ty (220 pas­sen­gers). This air­craft, which re­cent­ly en­te­red in­to ser­vice, to­ge­ther with its big bro­ther, the A321XLR (cur­rent­ly being de­ve­lo­ped by Air­bus) and the fu­ture New Mid­size Air­craft de­si­gned by Boeing, are pe­rhaps the key fac­tor in the suc­cess­ful take-off of low-cost long haul. The A321 LR and A321 XLR in par­ti­cu­lar are the dream ti­cket for air­lines. The A321 LR, a recent ad­di­tion to their fleets, of­fers ranges of 7 to 8 hours, while the A321 XLR, whose de­but will pro­ba­bly be in 2023, could cover 10-hour flights. “The A321 XLR is a mons­ter with a re­mar­kable range”, clai­med Le­vel’s CEO, Vincent Hod­der, last month. This flight time is not unu­sual for wide-bo­dy air­craft like the A350 ULR, which are ca­pable of close to 20-hour flights, and par­ti­cu­lar­ly for a plane de­si­gned for me­dium-haul flights like the A321, es­pe­cial­ly if the same seat ca­pa­ci­ty is main­tai­ned (200 plus). JetB­lue has just an­noun­ced the launch of trans­at­lan­tic flights in ear­ly 2021 bet­ween Lon­don and its ope­ra­ting hubs in New York and Bos­ton. He al­so fo­re­casts high growth po­ten­tial for the shor­test long-haul flights, bet­ween 5 and 7 hours. “While the ar­ri­val of air­craft like the A321 (X)LR is set to re­vo­lu­tio­nise the short, long-haul seg­ment, we see no dras­tic changes in the ul­tra-long-haul mo­del. Ad­dres­sing this as-yet un­tap­ped de­mand (50% ex­tra growth for an equi­va­lent 20% in­crease in glo­bal traf­fic) will re­quire the de­li­ve­ry of 2,200 ad­di­tio­nal air­craft over the next 20 years”, ex­plains Oddo BHF in a com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Along­side trans­at­lan­tic flights, there is al­so po­ten­tial for routes bet­ween North and South Ame­ri­ca, and bet­ween Eu­rope and Afri­ca. Above all, these smal­ler planes are ea­sier to fill than wide-bo­dy car­riers, which means that air­lines can of­fer a dai­ly ser­vice on cer­tain routes. This would help to at­tract more bu­si­ness cus­to­mers, ma­king them less de­pendent on pas­sen­gers who stop tra­vel­ling when prices ex­ceed a cer­tain le­vel, when there is a spike in oil prices for example.

[JET BLUE]

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