US government shutdown delays JetBlue A321 delivery

Washington DC
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The partial shutdown of the US federal government has left JetBlue Airways unable to take delivery of its first Airbus A321 aircraft, the carrier confirms.

“We don’t know when we will be able to bring our very first A321 home,” JetBlue tells Flightglobal, adding that 30 JetBlue employees who travelled to Hamburg, Germany to accept the aircraft have returned back to the USA empty-handed.

The delivery is delayed indefinitely because the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has shuttered its office in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, during the US government shutdown, according to JetBlue.

The Oklahoma City office, which JetBlue says has remained open during previous government shutdowns, handles aircraft registration.

The FAA did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment, and an automated phone message from the FAA says the agency will not monitor its media request line “due to a lack in funding.”

JetBlue has ordered 30 A321s, with four scheduled to be delivered in 2013, nine in 2014, 10 in 2015 and seven in 2016, according to the Ascend Online database.

The US federal government partially shut down on 1 October at 00:01 after the US Congress failed to agree on a federal budget. Some 800,000 federal employees have been temporarily furloughed, although federal functions deemed “essential” by the government continue to operate.