Embraer sees its next generation E195-E2 as the "solution" to JetBlue Airways' concerns with the E190, says Embraer Commercial Aircraft chief John Slattery.
The aircraft's larger size with 132 seats in a single-class configuration and more efficient Pratt & Whitney PW1900G geared turbofan engines fits well with the New York-based carrier's shift towards larger gauge aircraft, he says in an interview with FlightGlobal at the IATA Annual General Meeting in Cancun.
"They're operating the A320, and increasingly the [Airbus] A321, and the 100-seater may be a little on the small side for them," says Slattery. "I have a solution for that: the E195-E2."
JetBlue's E190s seat 100 passengers while its A320s are being reconfigured with 162 seats and its A321s have up to 200 seats.
Slattery's comments come in response to questions over JetBlue's fleet review, where executives have said they are not ruling out removing its 60 E190s.
“The stage length of the E190 is 40% shorter but the E190 is a high CASM airplane,” said Robin Hayes, chief executive of JetBlue, in March. “We look at the E190 issue not as a CASM issue, but a return issue.”
In April, the airline's chief financial officer Steve Priest said "everything is on the table", when asked if the E190s could be replaced.
"They talk about the cost per available seat mile being higher than the A320 – and it is, no debate it is – but the revenue per seat mile is disproportionately higher again," says Slattery.
Embraer claims that, at least on the New York-Fort Lauderdale route, the breakeven load factor for the E190 is 66% compared to 73% for the A320, mostly due to the lower fares charged to fill the larger type.
JetBlue has acknowledged the yield benefit to the E190, with Priest saying that the E190 has allowed it to launch "higher margin business markets" out of Boston and other cities.
"On a return for invested capital perspective, the E-Jet performs very well," says Slattery, who adds that he will meet with Hayes at the IATA meeting.
In addition to the aircraft in its fleet, JetBlue has firm orders for 24 E190s with deliveries from 2020.
JetBlue has not set a timeline for the fleet review but indicates it could make a decision on the fate of the E190s later this year.
Source: Cirium Dashboard