Batch of JetBlue E-190s headed for Brazil's Azul

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US low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways today revealed plans to offload six Embraer 190s by the end of the first quarter 2009.

The carrier has reached an agreement to lease two E-190s to Brazilian start-up Azul, which is spearheaded by JetBlue founder David Neeleman.

One E-190 has already been delivered to Azul "and one is soon to be delivered by the end of 2008", said JetBlue CFO Ed Barnes this morning at the Calyon Securities Airline Conference.

Additionally, JetBlue intends to sell four future E-190 deliveries to Jetscape in the first quarter of 2009. Jetscape will subsequently lease these four aircraft to Azul, says Barnes.

"It was the gameplan coming into 2009 to continue to slow our growth. We wanted to do that through deferrals," says Barnes, noting, however, that the agreement with Azul "was helpful". He assures that JetBlue is "very pleased" with the performance of its E-190s.

To date, JetBlue has deferred delivery of over 100 aircraft, and announced the sale of 18 Airbus A320s. The company's 2009 capacity plan calls for four net E-190s and one net A320.

Azul also has 36 E-195s on order with Embraer, with options for 20 and purchase rights for a further 20.