The chief executive of JetBlue Airways is not ready to discuss interest in Boeing's proposed New Mid-market Airplane (NMA), saying instead that the Airbus A321LR would be the ideal aircraft for a potential transatlantic expansion.
"That's a bit further in the future," CEO Robin Hayes replies when asked if JetBlue would consider buying Boeing's proposed 757 and 767 replacement.
Speaking during the JP Morgan Aviation, Transportation and Industrials Conference on 13 March, Hayes says the A321LR has the range to serve prime European destinations from Boston and New York.
The company would likely launch its first transatlantic flights from those cities, Hayes says.
"The markets in Boston that [would] give us relevance are ones that can be served with the A321LR," Hayes says. "It's the right airplane for those missions."
JetBlue has options to convert 15 A321neo orders into A321LRs. That aircraft will have capacity for 206 passengers and, thanks to three auxiliary fuel tanks, a range of 4,000nm (7,408km), according to Airbus.
Major European cities, including London and Paris, are well within the range of the A321LR from Boston and New York.
Hayes says JetBlue is basing its transatlantic decision on an evaluation of whether its Mint business-class product would be as successful on transatlantic flights as on domestic transcontinental flights.
"Can we have the same impact on the market that Mint has had on the transcon?" he says.
JetBlue chief financial officer Steve Priest said in January that JetBlue was nearly finished evaluating whether it will order A321LRs.