JetBlue Airways (B6, New York JFK) is working towards reaching an agreement with Pratt & Whitney to receive compensation for the grounding of aircraft for ongoing inspections of their Geared Turbofan (GTF) engines, the airline revealed in its financial results for the first quarter of 2024 and confirmed to ch-aviation.

The compensation for an as-yet-undisclosed amount will be recorded in the company's accounts “as a reduction to aircraft assets or as amortisation of maintenance expenses,” explained Ursula Hurley, chief financial officer.

JetBlue expects an average of 11 aircraft out of service for the remainder of the year due to the GTF issue, peaking “in the low teens” in the late second to early third quarter, Hurley added. The ch-aviation fleets module shows JetBlue currently has seven A321-200NX and two A220-300s inactive. The latter type is also powered by PW1000 engines, with all 29 of these jets having been delivered to the airline since 2020. JetBlue confirmed to ch-aviation that this type is also impacted by the ongoing engine recalls.

Going forward, JetBlue Airways will continue to face uncertainty around the expected number of grounded aircraft for 2025 and 2026 - and it anticipates this number to rise above 2024 levels. “The situation remains frustratingly fluid,” said Hurley.

Other airlines have also commented against the ongoing uncertainty from Pratt & Whitney and parent RTX over the engine issues, such as Volaris (Y4, México City International), which had an average of 29 of its Airbus planes parked in the first quarter of 2024, and whose management described itself as “sceptical” about the turnaround times and speed at which the impacted engines can return from the shops.

To address the near-term growth challenges stemming from the GTF issues, JetBlue is exploring other ways to grow its fleet and has committed to purchasing or has purchased twelve A320s off lease that were set for return to lessors.

“Looking ahead, we have further optionality and could elect to extend the life of approximately thirty A320 aircraft in total, which represents approximately 10% of our fleet today,” it said.

In the first quarter, JetBlue took delivery of eight planes. It expects to add 19 more airframes in 2024 for a total of 27 deliveries in the year, of which 20 will be A220-300s. It expects to add 25 twinjets (twenty A220s and five A321neos) in 2025, twenty-four in 2026 (twenty and four, respectively), and fourteen in 2027 (five and seven, respectively). In contrast, JetBlue’s contractual aircraft return schedule includes the return of two A320s and sixteen E190s this year and five A320s and seven E190s next year.

JetBlue posted USD2.2 billion in operating revenues and a USD716 million net loss in the first quarter of 2024. The company launched a plan to restore profitability and approach breakeven operating margins, identifying near-term initiatives that could deliver over USD300 million in "revenue benefits" earlier this year following the termination of its planned merger with Spirit Airlines (NK, Fort Lauderdale International).