JetBlue is struggling to add more seating to planes because the toilets on board keep breaking.
JetBlue passengers can relax for a few more minutes – you’re not about to be stuffed into planes like sardines just yet. And you have toilets to thank for that. The airline has been attempting to install a new configuration inside its planes, using Space Flex lavatories produced by Zodiac Aerospace, but there have been some issues.
“Equipment quality hasn’t been up to standard and we’ve seen alignment issues in the installation,” JetBlue spokesman Doug McGraw told Bloomberg in an email. “These problems are leading to a high rate of inoperable parts and out-of-service lavatories.”
The Space Flex products are integral to a working design new to JetBlue planes that increases seats on the A320 from 150 to 162. The airline expects new revenue from the increased seating will bring in about $100 million annually. As long as they can get the parts to work, that is.
“The last thing we want to do is put this product on our A320 aircraft and then have to bring them back for service,” JetBlue’s Chief Financial Officer Steve Priest said on a conference call with analysts reported by Bloomberg.
Twenty-one A321 planes have already had the faulty equipment installed; in November, Zodiac and Airbus will do a joint formal review on the aircraft to see how to handle repairs and figure out what to do with the A320 planes waiting for the new parts. Priest is completely confident that the new seat configuration will still work out after repairs and equipment are evaluated.