American Airlines has canceled an order for 22 Airbus A350s and will add 47 new Boeing 787s listing at more than $US12 billion as it moves to simplify its widebody fleet.
It will also defer the delivery of 40 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft previously scheduled to arrive between 2020 and 2022.
The order for 22 787-8s and 25-787-9s as replacement aircraft, along with he agreement to cancel the 22 Airbus A350s originally ordered by US Airways in 2005, will allow American to reduce widebody aircraft types in its fleet to three.
“Our prior plan would have had us operating five widebody aircraft types, and with today’s announcement we will soon reduce that to three,” American chief financial officer Derek Kerr said in the announcement. “These new replacement aircraft are consistent with our previous plans for the size of our widebody fleet.
“We see significant advantages to carrying common fleet types, including creating less friction in our operation when aircraft swaps are necessary, reducing inventory needs, and creating a more consistent service for customers and team members.”
The 787-8s will replace Boeing 767-300s and are scheduled to start arriving in 2020. The bigger 787-9s are due to arrive in 2023 and will replace Boeing 777-200s. All will be powered by General Electric GEnx-1B engines.
American already has 35 787s in operation to destinations such as Tokyo, Sao Paolo. It says and the new order and planes still to come from its existing agreement will boost the 787 fleet to 89 aircraft.
“We have two excellent partners in Boeing and Airbus and our relationship with both manufacturers goes back many years. Both offer specific aircraft that provide us with the right lift on specific missions across our global network,” said President Robert Isom.
“This was a difficult decision between the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350 and A330neo and we thank both manufacturers for their aggressive efforts to earn more of American’s business. In the end, our goal to simplify our fleet made the 787 a more compelling choice.”
The airline said the decision to defer the 737 MAX deliveries would see their arrival better aligned with the retirement of other narrowbody aircraft.