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JetBlue to Return Some Retired A320 Jets to Service

The airline purchased 12 aircraft that were slated to be returned to lessors.

JetBlue A320 aircraft in storage (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Embattled with ongoing Pratt & Whitney engine troubles on its newer A321neo aircraft, JetBlue is planning to return some older Airbus A320s to revenue service. During a first-quarter earnings call on April 23, the airline detailed plans to buy out 12 aircraft at the end of their lease terms.

“As we continue to work through near-term growth challenges stemming from the GTF issues, we are exploring cost-effective and capital-light ways to grow our fleet. To date, we have committed to purchase or purchased 12 A320 aircraft off lease that were set for return to lessors,” the company’s finance chief Ursula Hurley shared. JetBlue has plans to “extend the life” of 30 A320s altogether, Hurley added.

The New York-based airline expects to have an average of 11 aircraft out-of-service this year due to the ongoing GTF engine woes. In Q1 2024, JetBlue reported a net loss of approximately $716 million while also announcing plans to cut routes and scale back operations on the West Coast.

First JetBlue Aircraft Returning

Among the A320s returning to service is N503JB, which is JetBlue’s first-ever aircraft. As first reported by PaxEx.Aero, the aircraft’s return was announced in an internal memo to employees.

Affectionately nicknamed ‘Christine,’ N503JB was first delivered to the carrier in December 1999. it was later retired in August 2023 at a storage facility in Marana, Ariz.

JetBlue does plan to retrofit interiors on the re-activated aircraft in line with other A320s in its fleet. Per Cirium Fleet Analyzer data, JetBlue has five A320s in storage programs.

Ryan Ewing
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  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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