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JetBlue Reining In Growth

The low-cost carrier will take delivery of fewer Embraers than had been planned through 2010.
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Updated from 1:04 p.m. EST

JetBlue Airways

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continues to tinker with its plan to slow growth.

The low-cost carrier said Monday that over the next four years, it will take delivery of 40 Embraer 190 regional jets, 32 fewer than had been expected from 2007 through 2010. The airline will also move forward 22 options for the 100-seat airplanes, so that they may be exercised during the same four-year period.

The intent is to give the airline greater ability to determine exactly how many aircraft it will add to its fleet, CEO David Neeleman has said.

JetBlue didn't announce any change in the forecast that it will receive a total of 201 Embraer 190s from 2005 through 2016 and 131 Airbus A320s from 2007 through 2013. The carrier also reiterated its previous estimate that next year's capacity growth would be 14% to 17%, down from the 18% to 20% growth that was originally expected.

Neeleman discussed the airline's capacity growth at a Citigroup transportation conference on Nov. 15, the same day

US Airways


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"In some cases, we can take some of those

firm orders and make them options, so we don't have the requirement to take them," Neeleman said. "

We also have the flexibility if things are a little better, we can add a plane or two."

Neeleman noted that he had discussed the merger attempt with an unidentified JetBlue investor in the hallway. He said the investor asked "'

With10% of the combined entity coming out if this Delta-U.S. Airways thing goes through, are you going to go back to your full-growth rate?' because obviously he didn't want us to."

Neeleman said he responded that JetBlue was "committed to slower growth, but with flexibility."