JetBlue Airways has unveiled plans to slow the expansion of its Embraer 190 fleet, as part of a wider strategy to peg back capacity gains over the next three years.

The fast-growing US low-cost carrier, which wants to shave $120 million from its costs next year, says it has entered talks with Airbus and Embraer to design the most efficient mechanism to slow its capacity growth rate, which it expects to increase next year by between 14% and 17%.

Because of this, JetBlue could defer future aircraft deliveries with the two manufacturers or take some firm orders and put "some optionality on them", said chairman and chief executive David Neeleman after reporting a third-quarter net loss of $500,000.

According to the Flight Acas database, the carrier has 89 A320s and 80 E-190s on order. It is scheduled to take 30 aircraft next year, but may decide to keep these positions and offload older aircraft, says Neeleman.

In April, JetBlue deferred 12 A320s by up to four years, and has sold up to five of its existing A320s to German charter operator Blue Wings. The airline has since "spent a lot of time looking at our growth rate and our balance sheet and cashflows" and has opted to slow growth, says Neeleman.

© Embraer   
JetBlue is talking to Embraer about possible E-190 order deferrals as it looks to slow capacity growth

Source: Flight International