JetBlue agrees to buy at least 60 regional jets from Airbus

  • JetBlue will use the A220-300 planes to replace its fleet of Embraer E-190 jets.
  • The purchase will tighten the airline's ties to Airbus.
An Airbus A220-300 aircraft flies during its unveiling in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, July 10, 2018.
Regis Duvignau | Reuters
An Airbus A220-300 aircraft flies during its unveiling in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, July 10, 2018.

JetBlue Airways has ordered at least 60 regional jets from Airbus, the U.S. airline said Tuesday, a decision that tightens its tie to the European airplane manufacturer, Boeing's chief rival.

The 60 planes are worth close to $5.4 billion at the plane’s list price provided by Airbus, but airlines often receive discounts on jets.

JetBlue will start to retire its fleet of Embraer E-190 planes starting in 2020, to replace them with the A220-300 jets from Airbus, the New York-based airline said. Boeing last week announced its plan to buy control of Embraer's commercial jet business.

The A220 jets are a new addition for Airbus, which took control of the struggling program from Canada's Bombardier, which had called them CSeries, at the start of the month.

JetBlue has options for an additional 60 planes from Airbus, which manufactures the majority of the airline's fleet. Delta has purchased a smaller model of the plane.

As part of the agreement, JetBlue will convert its orders for 25 Airbus A320neos for the larger Airbus A321neos. Neo stands for new-engine option. JetBlue has considered flying to Europe and a longer-range version of the A321 could fit the bill.

JetBlue will hold a conference call about the order on Wednesday at 10 a.m.