American Airlines has taken delivery of its first Airbus A320-family aircraft, which is also the first Airbus A319 delivered with Sharklets installed and the 100th A320-family jet to be delivered with Sharklets.
The carrier took delivery of the Airbus A319 at a ceremony at the Airbus facilities in Hamburg, where the A319 and A321 final assembly line is located.
Teams from American Airlines, Airbus and CFM International celebrated the first of 260 Airbus A320-family jets the airline has on firm order.
To date American Airlines has ordered 65 A319s and 65 A321s, as well as 130 Airbus A320neo-family aircraft. It also holds options on 85 more A320-family jets and 280 A320neo-family aircraft.
Each American Airlines A319 will seat 128 passengers in a two-class configuration. The carrier will use its A319s initially on its domestic route network, and then on routes into Central America from this fall.
American’s 65 A319s will all be powered by two CFM56-5B/P engines, but the airline has chosen more powerful IAE V.2533-A5s to power the 65 Airbus A321 aircraft it has on order.
Airbus expects the Sharklets ‒ lightweight, drag-reducing wingtip devices made of composite materials ‒ to offer up to a 4 per cent fuel burn saving, providing the flexibility of either adding 110 nautical miles (204 kilometers) in range or an increased payload capability of more than 1,100lb (up to 500 kilograms).
The first American A319 is also the 100th A320-family aircraft delivered with Sharklets. Sharklets are an option on all new-build A320-family jets and will be standard equipment on all members of the A320neo family.
“Everything about the new A319 aircraft has been designed with the customer at the center,” said Virasb Vahidi, American Airlines’ chief commercial officer. “The introduction of the A319 is another important step in building a strong foundation for the new American. We’re pleased to be partnering with Airbus.”
American’s A319s will begin service in September from Dallas/Fort Worth (IATA code DFW) to select domestic destinations, followed by additional routes throughout the end of the year. Initial routes planned for the A319 include service between DFW and Charlotte; Cleveland; Memphis; and Wichita.
The carrier plans to take delivery of its 130 current-generation A319s and A321s from now through 2017. Deliveries of American’s 130 A320neo-family aircraft will begin in 2017.
American will configure some of its current-generation A321s for use on transcontinental flights, designating these aircraft as A321Ts. The A321T is scheduled to begin service between New York JFK and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and between JFK and San Francisco International Airport (SFO), in early 2014.
To date, more than 9,600 Airbus A320-family aircraft have been ordered and over 5,600 delivered to more than 380 customers and operators worldwide.