JetBlue Airways sees Embraer’s 190 as playing a long-term role in its fleet, despite today’s announcement that the carrier will defer delivery of 16 of the type and the software glitches that dogged its E-190s until upgrades were completed last month.

Although JetBlue president and CEO Dave Barger says he would “never say never” about returning to an all-Airbus A320 fleet, he insists that such a strategy “is not at all in my mind or senior leadership”.

Delaying E-190 deliveries is a “win win” for both JetBlue and Embraer, he says, noting that it will ensure “Embraer is digesting their delivery book across the world”.

The 16 E-190s, originally scheduled for delivery from this year through 2012, will now be delivered between 2013 and 2015.

As a result, the New York JFK-hubbed carrier’s E-190 fleet will grow by seven net aircraft this year, six next year and another six in 2009.

“That’s 11 fewer E-190s in the next two-and-a-half years than previously reported,” notes Barger during a conference call to discuss JetBlue’s second quarter net profit of $21 million.

The JetBlue head says the company is “very pleased” with the improved dispatch reliability of the aircraft in the latest second quarter. Additionally, JetBlue is “seeing the benefits” of the most recent modifications performed this spring to fix software glitches on the aircraft.

“We ended the quarter with daily utilization of 10.6hr day to day, a 27% increase over the year ago period,” says Barger.

Capacity at JetBlue Airways is now expected to grow between 10% and 12% in the third quarter. This takes into account the impact of deferrals, as well as JetBlue’s plan – announced today – to sell three A320s later this year.

“We had not given prior guidance on 3Q ASM [available seat mile] growth, but we had previously guided an 11%-13% growth for the full year, which we have revised to 10%-12%. Our third quarter growth guidance is 10%-12%,” a JetBlue spokeswoman tells Air Transport Intelligence (ATI),'s sister news source.

The three A320s are destined for a European-based leasing company, Barger reveals.

“The key for us to maintain a sustainable growth rate is flexibility; the ability to turn the dial up or down and to quickly respond to market opportunities when they arrive,” he says.

“The current demand for the A320 and E-190 worldwide are particularly strong. This allows us to maintain our flexibility”.