This week’s featured link:
JetBlue launches fleet review with E190 cost concerns – FlightGlobal
It’s been no secret from past comments that JetBlue isn’t in love with its Embraer 190 fleet, and recent comments show that hasn’t changed. I’d bet if JetBlue could get rid of these things today, it would. (And Bombardier would gladly be there waiting to sell some C Series aircraft.) But it can’t. So it’ll just keep complaining.
Two for the road:
Exclusive: Delta hires consultant to study refinery options – sources – Reuters
Delta says everything is fine with its refinery, but it also admits to having consultants come in to review it. Yes it sometimes loses money, but the bigger question is around what the price of oil would do without that capacity. That’s probably what the consultants are trying to figure out.
Behind the Livery: A talk with JetBlue graphic designer Ciara Cordasco – Runway Girl Network
And now for something different. Runway Girl chatted with the person behind the design of a few special JetBlue liveries.
What is the cost issue with E190s? Airlines seem happy with the E175 but not the E190. Is it simply the cost of mainline pilots for a 100-seat plane, which would presumably apply to any 100-seat plane? Or is it something else?
It’s a shame from a passenger point of view that E190s aren’t more successful; they’re such wonderful aircraft to fly as a passenger.
The cost to overhaul the engine is the same as the A320. Which is very expensive considering how much smaller it is.
Upgauging has been an industry wide trend since the downturn across the spectrum of US carriers. The E190 has had terrible operational performance and at JetBlue is dubbed the “180” because they often return to the gate for MX issues.
US carriers have embraced the E175 because based on the pilot scope clauses that have become industry standard govern any flying over 76 seats needs to be done by pilots on the mainline seniority roster. As such, the E175s have an outsized number of F seats compared to most other fleet types and relative to the characteristics of the markets they serve. US carriers would love to have more Y seats to earn revenue from than give away comp upgrades. US Airways was able to get their pilots to permit additional Y seating up to 80 seats, however APA at AA wanted no part in any of that above and outside the CBA.
The E190 has left other carriers fleets, look to AA and reductions at Air Canada. Air Canada formerly operated the E175 on mainline however about five years ago they were able to split it off to a low cost Sky Regional outfit.
I always found it odd that B6 has had issues with the E190 and companies like OO and QX are adding the E175 to their fleets at a pretty quick rate. I like the E175 as a passenger, but it can’t have a better CASM than an E190 and yet it’s being used a lot.
Exactly, that’s my confusion, except for the obvious that E190s generally require mainline pilot salaries whereas E175s are typically flown (in a low-density configuration) with regional pilots. But that doesn’t explain why the CS100, with comparable capacity, is more appealing. And as a brand new airplane, I don’t think anyone really knows what it will cost.
The C series uses a whole new generation of engine and also incorporates a number of other technologies that the E190 lacks.
The C series aircraft is flying and it is meeting or exceeding its performance expectations. Manufacturers of all kinds of products have to be able to predict the economics of their products.
It is also worth noting that Delta has committed to pilot pay scales for the C series (100 and 300) that are higher for captains than what JetBlue pays for A320/321 pilots and also higher than the DL pay scale for the E190 and CRJ900, both of which Delta has mainline rates for even if it doesn’t have the plane on property or flown by mainline pilots. Delta’s pay rates for the CS300 are the same as for the M90 even though the M90 will likely carry 20 more passengers (Delta has not released a configuration for the CS300)
Bottom line is that low crew costs don’t make or make the ability of an aircraft to be successful. Delta has committed to the CS100 which will be similarly sized to the 717 which has been successful for Delta.
With higher labor costs for its smallest mainline aircraft than B6 has for its largest aircraft, Delta clearly has a formula for generating revenue that offsets the reasons that other carriers say keep a mainline 100 seat aircraft from being viable for them.
Maybe the sweet deal Delta got on these babies is allowing them to splurge a little bit on their pilots.
Of course they are high CASM and MX delay prone, but I think they’re good for a number of routes from BOS that I find myself flying on them. I do think that when these were ordered it was a very different time and strategy the company had in mind to expand between the two coasts but instead have stuck to the Caribbean and markets that are important to BOS/JFK/FLL customer base.
That said, as a low cost operator it still blows my mind they didn’t consider the 319 instead for commonality.
Part of it is that they probably got a good deal on the E190s compared to A319s or A318s, especially as the launch customer. One can’t help but suspect that Neeleman’s connections to Brazil had a lot to do with the decision. And compared to the other choices at the time, it looked like a good fit.
Jumping from 100 to 150 seats will dramatically change the economics of a lot of JBLU routes, esp. out of BOS where the E190 operates more than half of the departures including most of B6′ non-Florida, non-California flights. Notably, it is also what they are using in the LGA-BOS Shuttle which recently DL said they are guessing that B6 is not doing well in that market.
B6 doesn’t have the feed beyond BOS to increase aircraft size on those routes without significantly depressing yields.
DL has said they will grow in Boston and they do have the 717 as well as a number of types of large RJs in its fleet now and the C series is coming. DL clearly sees value in the 100 seat market and is the only large jet US airline that is committed to that size aircraft and in growing it at mainline.
You have to wonder if DL doesn’t see B6′ vulnerability esp. in BOS specifically around the E190 and intends to use its fleet complexity which clearly works for DL to its advantage.
So is the E190 significantly less reliable than its smaller brother (sister?) E175?