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JetBlue plans Airbus deferrals

JetBlue Airways plans to defer a total of 10 Airbus A320s scheduled for delivery in 2012 and 2013 to 2016 in order to spread out its aircraft purchase obligations.

Carrier chief executive Dave Barger disclosed the deferrals today during an earnings call with analysts and investors. Specifically, four A320s scheduled for delivery in 2012 are being pushed to 2016 and six deliveries originally scheduled for 2013 will be rescheduled for delivery in 2016.

JetBlue estimates the deferrals reduce Airbus deliveries by 40% in the 2012-2013 timeframe and reduce costs associated with aircraft purchases by $500 million. The carrier has agreed to pay Airbus $5 million as part of the deferral agreement.

JetBlue now plans to accept seven A320 deliveries in 2012 and 2013.

Additionally, Barger says that JetBlue has decided to "opt out" of two Embraer E-190s deliveries scheduled for 2012.

Now that JetBlue has concluded the deferral agreement, the carrier plans to take a total delivery of nine new aircraft in 2011, 11 in 2012 and 14 in 2013. Barger also says four A320 leases terminate in 2012 and six of the type come off lease in 2013.

JetBlue's latest fleet adjustments follow a deal it concluded with lessor Gecas earlier this year to add back seven A320s it once owned and previously operated.

Barger in a recent interview with ATI sister publication Airline Business said JetBlue "had a very nice financial proposal to bring those aircraft back into the fleet".

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