Now Reading
JetBlue is Returning its First Ever Airplane Back to Service More Than 10 Months After the 24 Year Old Aircraft Was Retired

JetBlue is Returning its First Ever Airplane Back to Service More Than 10 Months After the 24 Year Old Aircraft Was Retired

a jet plane on the runway

JetBlue is preparing to return to service its first-ever Airbus A320 more than ten months after the ageing bird was retired and sent to an airplane boneyard in the Arizona desert.

The 24-year-old aircraft was built in 1999 and delivered new from Airbus to JetBlue, where it was christened ‘Bluebird’ – although JetBlue staffers affectionately call her Christine.

Christine has had a remarkably safe and trouble-free life at JetBlue. The aircraft hasn’t suffered any serious incidents, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and apart from a couple of bird strikes, Christine has never been involved in an accident.

Nonetheless, at nearly a quarter of a century old, Christine is starting to show her age and isn’t nearly as fuel efficient as newer aircraft such as the Airbus A320neo aircraft that are due to replace JetBlue’s older A320 fleet.

Unfortunately, the A320neo aircraft aren’t without their own challenges – specifically, issues with the Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan engines that power them.

Pratt & Whitney discovered that there was an issue with powdered metal used in the manufacture of these engines, which could cause cracking in stage 1 and stage 2 disks in the high-pressure turbine.

The issue started in 2015, and it wasn’t until mid-2021 that the issue was identified and corrected. As a result, in-service A320neo family aircraft with P&W engines must be taken out of service to be carefully examined and, where necessary, fixed.

It’s a time-consuming process, and it’s believed that as many as 600 Airbus aircraft could be grounded worldwide throughout 2024 due to the issue.

JetBlue estimates that it will have around 11 A320 series aircraft grounded at any one time throughout 2024 for P&W engine inspections. At some point throughout the year, the airline estimates that as many as 15 aircraft might be out of action for engine inspections.

Of course, JetBlue is expected to receive significant compensation from P&W but in the meantime, the airline is having to think of ways to claw back capacity lost from the aircraft groundings.

That’s where Christine and 11 other ageing A320s come into play. Christine was sent to Pinal County Airpark in Marana, Arizona, last August – what was thought to be the final time that she might ever fly.

But JetBlue has now confirmed to staffers that Christine will be returned to service, and she’s even due to receive a cabin upgrade before she reenters commercial operation.

For now, Christine is still parked up in Arizona but expect some movement in the next few weeks and with any luck, she might be back in operation in time for the summer.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2023 All Rights Reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to with appropriate and specific directions to the original content.