It’s been rumored for weeks, but American Airlines finally made the announcement this morning that they have placed an order for 460 new narrow body single-aisle aircraft. Somewhat surprisingly, the all Boeing airline has split this order between Boeing and Airbus. Additionally, American is moving at a fast past (in airline terms) to update their fleet. Their order includes:
- 100 new 737NG aircraft (starting in 2013) in addition to the 737-800s that have already been ordered and are being delivered
- American will be the global launch customer for the re-engined 737, powered by CFM International’s LEAP-X engine, ordering 100 aircraft slated for delivery in 2017
- 130 current generation Airbus A320 aircraft
- and beginning in 2017, 130 Airbus A320 NEO next-generation aircraft
As many of us who have endured the MD-80s for almost three decades this is a refreshing change. American will reduce their average fleet age making it one of the youngest of its peers.
“With today’s news, we expect to have the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleet among our peers in the U.S. industry within five years.” – Gerard Arpey, Chairman and CEO of AMR and American Airlines
I, personally, loved flying in first class on the MD-80s. There is no other aircraft that is as quiet, and (when lightly loaded) fun to fly in. I know many people disliked the planes, but they will be missed by me at least. Interestingly, the press release goes further than just mothballing the Super 80s:
The agreements with Boeing and Airbus will continue American’s fleet simplification efforts, allowing American to transition four fleet types (MD-80, 737-800, 757 and 767-200) to two (the 737 and the A320 families, which offer significant commonality benefits within each family).
No wonder the first class cabin of the 757s still look like 1987.
This leaves the following questions in my mind:
- How are they going to paint the A320s? Will American Airlines rebrand with a new livery? Will they paint the grey metal color like they did on the A300s?
- And what happens to the Flagship service between JFK and Los Angeles and San Francisco over time if the 767-200s are retired? Something like United P.S. ?
What do you think?