American Airlines Orders 35 Additional Boeing 737-800s
American Airlines on Wednesday announced an order for 35 additional Boeing 737-800s. The deal is estimated to be worth around $2.5 billion, according to Boeing’s list prices.
The 35 newly ordered 737s are expected to be delivered in 2011 and 2012, and will be in addition to 84 new 737s that began entering American’s fleet in April 2009.
American Airlines says the 737s are 35 percent more fuel-efficient on a seat-mile basis than the MD-80 aircraft that they are replacing. The 737s would save an average 800,000 gallons of fuel per aircraft per year.
The 737-800s ordered are equipped with Blended Winglets and are similar to those already installed on American’s fleet. Blended Winglets are wing tip extensions which provide significant operating, fuel efficiency and environmental benefits, including reduced noise on takeoff and approach and lower emissions through lower cruise thrust.
“Purchasing aircraft during challenging economic times is a major decision – a decision we don’t take lightly,” said Gerard Arpey, Chairman and CEO of AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines and American Eagle. “In the year that we’ve been operating these new 737s, we’ve seen they have improved our fuel efficiency, provided environmental and operational benefits, and enhanced the overall customer experience.”
Arpey also noted that American has been able to obtain a “backstop” financing commitment covering all 35 of these aircraft. Terms of the commitment were not disclosed.
“These additional aircraft will help continue to reduce our average fleet age and will also help us manage through future fuel price volatility, which continues to be a challenge for the entire industry,” Arpey said.
Including the 35 new orders and the 84 737s that began arriving in 2009, American expects to have a total of 195 737-800s in its narrowbody fleet by the end of 2012.
“American Airlines is leveraging all the performance benefits of the Next-Generation 737 to stay competitive, while providing an enhanced passenger travel experience,” said Marlin Dailey, Vice President of Sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “American’s investment in additional 737s demonstrates real confidence in the 737′s technology and economics. In addition, the new interiors on its existing 737 fleet and the new 737 Boeing Sky Interior on deliveries starting in 2011 will ensure American’s customers continue to enjoy an exceptional flying experience.”
These aircraft will include the new Boeing Sky Interior along with comfortable and spacious First and Economy Class seats, bigger overhead storage bins, updated inflight entertainment systems, and more AC power ports. Over time, American intends to equip all of its 737s with Gogo Inflight Internet service, which will allow passengers to surf the Web, check e-mail and send instant messages conveniently from the air.
Last month, American Airlines said it is updating its existing 737-800s to match the customer benefits and amenities featured on its newly-delivered 737-800 aircraft to improve the travel experience. The update effort began in May and the retrofitting is being done by American’s mechanics at its maintenance base in Tulsa, Okla.