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June 30, 2011

American Airlines to Update Fleet with 250 New Planes: Report

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American Airlines is in negotiations with Boeing and Airbus to purchase at least 250 new narrowbody jets, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

American Airlines MD-80 N972TW at BNA

Two American Airlines MD-80s parked at the gate in Nashville. (Photo by Matt Molnar)

The new planes would replace more than two thirds of the carrier’s fleet, including all 220 McDonnell Douglas MD-80s and some of their 124 Boeing 757s. It is hoped that the new jets will not only result in lower fuel and maintenance costs compared to the older jets, but also enable the airline to expand service if the airline’s currently bleak financial status improves.

WSJ reports that American struck a deal with Airbus for A320 and A320neo aircraft several weeks ago and then took the offer to Boeing to request a counter bid including 737-700 and 737-900 models. Airbus’s financing terms were reportedly “very appealing to American” according to a WSJ source, including “significant discounts, creative financing terms and other incentives such as assistance with training pilots and mechanics, stocking spare parts and handling the fleet transition.”

While Airbus has been selling the more fuel efficient A320neos like hotcakes, Boeing has been reticent to reveal an updated 737 model before the year’s end despite the market’s apparent desire for one. American looking to place an order by this summer could possibly speed that process up.

It is not clear that either manufacturer could fulfill enough orders in the time frame American would like, so a deal split between Boeing and Airbus is also possible.

Since retiring the Airbus A300 in 2009, American has operated an all-Boeing fleet and has more of the Chicago-based aerospace giant’s airliners on order. American will receive 42 Boeing 787-900’s beginning in 2014, two Boeing 777-300ER’s in fall 2012 and several additional 737-800’s in 2011 and 2012.



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  • Anonymous

    This is big!  Of course, I’m sure Airbus would be more than happy to take some of AA’s business from Boeing, hence the very comprehensive offer and terms they’ve proposed. The caveat is American’s financial status.  It’s a risk for both Airbus and Boeing to take on a customer like AA given its financial situation.  If AA can’t hold up its end of the deal, it’s bad news for either manufacturer.  It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  • Anonymous

    This is big!  Of course, I’m sure Airbus would be more than happy to take some of AA’s business from Boeing, hence the very comprehensive offer and terms they’ve proposed. The caveat is American’s financial status.  It’s a risk for both Airbus and Boeing to take on a customer like AA given its financial situation.  If AA can’t hold up its end of the deal, it’s bad news for either manufacturer.  It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  • Marissa Kayton

    It’s about time they get rid of the “super 80.” I don’t even know how the faa still allows those things in the air.

    • Apart from the elevator jackscrews…which is very serious; what else about the MD-80 do you feel is unsafe. It’s my understanding that a service bulletin went out to all MD-80 operators after the Alaska Air crash. I’m not an industry insider, but a hobbyist that enjoys commercial aviation, so please excuse my lapse of knowledge here.

      Thanks~