JetBlue has retired its first-ever aircraft, an Airbus A320 named “Bluebird”.
The aircraft, registered as N503JB, was delivered to the airline on December 1, 1999, with flights beginning in February 2000. JetBlue operated its first flight out of Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) to New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), with the Airbus A320 taking guests, including the then-founder and president of JetBlue, David Neeleman, and the then-mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, to the Big Apple.
However, the excitement was hampered by foggy conditions, which delayed the flight by three hours, according to The New York Times at the time.
“Today we bid a fond farewell to Bluebird, our first JetBlue aircraft. Thank you to every Crew Member who has cared for her and her passengers on this plane for the last 23 years,” Rob Land, the current Head of Government Affairs and Associate General Counsel at JetBlue, as well as one of the airline’s founding members, said in a short statement on Twitter.
Using JFK as its main hub to serve BUF and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), and Bluebird as its first aircraft, JetBlue has expanded to more than 100 destinations across the Americas. The airline has also launched flights to European destinations such as London’s Heathrow (LHR) or Gatwick (LGW) airports.
The airline also began services to Paris Charles De Gaulle International Airport (CDG) in June 2023, with flights to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) set to follow sometime in August 2023.
Since being delivered new to the airline, the A320 accumulated 85,199 flight hours (FH) and 31,622 flight cycles (FC) as of April 30, 2023, according to ch-aviation.com data. The site estimated that over the three months that followed, the single-aisle jet amassed a total of 732.12 FH and 282 FC.
There were rumors that “Bluebird” could be retired during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the airline sending it to be temporarily stored at Marana Pinal Airpark (MZJ) in January 2021, according to planespotters.net data. However, the aircraft returned to service in March 2021, and continued to fly passengers until its retirement.
Its last commercial flight was from Nassau Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) to JFK, with the Airbus A320 landing at the latter at 9:30 pm local time (UTC -4) on July 31, 2023.