Under the agreement with Boeing, American plans to acquire a total of 200 additional aircraft from the 737 family, with options for another 100 737 family aircraft. American has the flexibility to convert the new deliveries into variants within the 737 family, including the 737-700, 737-800 and 737-900ER.
As part of the Boeing agreement, American will take delivery of 100 aircraft from the current Boeing 737NG family starting in 2013, including three 737-800 options that had been exercised as of July 1, 2011. American also intends to order 100 of Boeing’s expected new evolution of the 737NG, whose LEAP-X engine “would offer significant fuel-efficiency gains over today’s models”, according to American.
American says it “is pleased to be the first airline to commit to Boeing’s new 737 family offering, which is expected to provide a new level of economic efficiency and operational performance, pending final confirmation of the program by Boeing.”
Boeing says it and American Airlines “will work to finalize the agreement over the next several weeks, at which time it will be a firm order and posted to the Boeing Orders and Deliveries website. “Pending final configuration of the new 737 variant and board of directors approval, Boeing will take another giant step forward in improving the operating economics of this already market-leading airplane,” the manufacturer says in a statement.
American’s most recent deliveries of the 737-800, with 160 seats, include the new Boeing Sky Interior, offering larger overhead bins that pivot down and out similar to those on the 787 Dreamliner, a contemporary feeling of spaciousness and variable LED lighting options for cabin ambience.
In the Airbus part of American Airlines’ orders, which is even bigger than the Boeing part, American will take delivery of 130 current-generation Airbus A320-family aircraft beginning in 2013. Beginning in 2017 American will begin taking delivery of 130 aircraft from the A320neo (New Engine Option) family, featuring next-generation engine technology. The new aircraft are approximately 15 percent more fuel efficient than today’s models, according to American Airlines.
The A320 family features cabin interiors with increased overhead storage, reduced noise and ambient lighting options.
According to American, the 737 and A320 families offer significant cost-reduction opportunities in replacing its older fleet. For example, says American, aircraft in the 737 and A320 families offer a 35 per cent reduction in fuel cost per seat versus the MD-80 and a 12 per cent and 15 per cent fuel cost reduction per seat, respectively, compared with the 757 and 767-200.
American says the new agreements with Boeing and Airbus will let the carrier continue its fleet-simplification efforts, allowing American to transition four fleet types (the MD-80, 737-800, 757 and 767-200) to two (the 737 and the A320 families, which offer significant commonality benefits within each family).
With a total of 465 options and purchase rights for additional aircraft from both manufacturers through 2025, American says the new agreements give it the flexibility for replacement as well as growth opportunities under the right economic and financial conditions, with the ability to acquire up to 925 aircraft in total over 12 years.
The airline notes that it also continues to execute on other elements of a comprehensive fleet-renewal plan that will deliver customer benefits in a range of aircraft types and sizes.
In 2009 and 2010, American took delivery of 76 737-800s. Separate from the July 20 order announcements, American has taken or is scheduled to take delivery of a total of 54 737-800s from 2011 into 2013. American also has firm orders for eight Boeing 777-300ER widebodies to be delivered in 2012 and 2013. American is the first U.S. airline to order the 777-300ER, which will offer many operational and customer benefits while serving as the flagship of American’s modernized fleet.
In addition, American has plans to acquire 42 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, to be delivered starting in late 2014, and holds options on 58 additional 787s.
American also has firm orders for seven 777-200ERs, which are scheduled for delivery in 2013 through 2016.
“While our network is our core product, designed to take our customers where they most want to go, our fleet is a critical element of our ability to deliver a superior travel experience, safely, reliably and comfortably,” said Virasb Vahidi, American’s chief commercial officer, who leads American’s fleet and network planning and strategy. “With today’s announcement, I am confident that we will be able to meet our customers’ needs for decades to come with a modern fleet that will be second to none.”
American was advised in the transaction by SkyWorks Capital, LLC.