American Airlines, which announced the closure of its international reservations office in Dublin on Tuesday with the loss of 130 jobs, has placed orders for 200 Boeing 737 and 260 Airbus 320 aircraft – with options on an additional 465 aircraft. Its statement concluded: “Today’s announcement will deliver important benefits to our shareholders, customers and employees.”
The new aircraft will allow American to reduce its operating and fuel costs and deliver “state-of-the-art amenities to customers, while maximising financial flexibility for the company”.
The order of 460 narrowbody, single-aisle aircraft from the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families, beginning in 2013 through to 2022, is the largest aircraft order in aviation history. As part of these agreements, starting in 2017 American will become the first network US airline to begin taking delivery of ‘next generation’ narrowbody aircraft that will further accelerate fuel-efficiency gains.
These new deliveries are expected to pave the way for American to have the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleet among its US airline peers in approximately five years.
Under the agreement with Boeing, American plans to acquire 200 additional B737 aircraft, with options for another 100. American has the flexibility to convert the new deliveries into variants within the 737 family, including the 737-700, 737-800 and 737-900ER.
American will take delivery of 100 aircraft from Boeing’s current 737NG family starting in 2013, including three 737-800 options that had been exercised as of 1st July 2011. American also intends to order 100 of Boeing’s expected new evolution of the 737NG, with a new engine that would offer even more significant fuel-efficiency gains over today’s models.
American’s most recent deliveries of the 737-800, with 160 seats, include the all-new Boeing Sky Interior, offering larger overhead bins that pivot down and out similar to those on the 787 Dreamliner and, a contemporary feeling of spaciousness and variable LED lighting options for cabin ambience.
American also will acquire 260 Airbus A320 aircraft and will have 365 options and purchase rights for additional aircraft. American has the flexibility to convert its delivery positions into variants within the A320 family, including the A319 and A321.
American will take delivery of 130 current-generation Airbus aircraft beginning in 2013. Beginning in 2017 American will begin taking delivery of 130 aircraft from the A320neo (New Engine Option) family featuring next-generation engine technology. The new aircraft are approximately 15% more fuel efficient than today’s models. American will be the first network airline in the USA to deploy this new-technology aircraft.
The A320 family features cabin interiors with increased overhead storage, reduced noise and ambient lighting options.
The B737 and A320 families offer significant cost reduction opportunities in replacing American’s older fleet. For example, Boeing and Airbus aircraft in the 737 and A320 families offer a 35% reduction in fuel cost per seat versus the MD-80 and a 12% and 15% fuel cost reduction per seat, respectively, versus the 757 and 767-200.
The agreements with Boeing and Airbus will continue American’s fleet simplification efforts, allowing American to transition from four fleet types (MD-80, B737-800, B757 and B767-200) to two (the B737 and the A320 families, which offer significant commonality benefits within each family).
With a total of 465 options and purchase rights for additional aircraft from both manufacturers through 2025, these agreements give American the flexibility for replacement as well as growth opportunities under the right economic and financial conditions, with the ability to acquire up to 925 aircraft in total over 12 years.