American Airlines to Update Fleet with 250 New Planes: Report
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.