American Airlines has placed a massive order for 460 new jet aircraft with Airbus and Boeing. The order, which comprises 260 Airbus A320 Family aircraft and 200 of Boeing’s 737 series of jets, is intended to replace and expand the carrier’s narrow-body fleet over the next decade. The airline also has options for a further 465 aircraft – 100 737s and 365 A320s.
Gerard Arpey, Chairman & CEO of American’s parent company, AMR Corp, said; “This was an incredible opportunity for our company that presented itself from two great manufacturers. And, given our aggressive and ambitious fleet plans, we feel fortunate to have both Boeing and Airbus standing beside us to meet our needs. With today’s news, we expect to have the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleet among our peers in the US industry within five years.”
Under the agreement with Boeing, American plans to acquire a total of 200 additional aircraft from the 737 family, with options for another 100. The new deliveries can be converted into either the 737-700, 737-800 or 737-900ER models. American will take delivery of 100 Boeing aircraft from 2013. American also intends to order 100 of Boeing’s new 737NG with a new CFM International’s LEAP-X engine to increase fuel-efficiency.
“We are pleased to continue our long and successful partnership with American Airlines,” said Jim Albaugh, President & CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The 737 family will continue to serve an important role in American’s narrow-body fleet – delivering customer and cost benefits in both its current form and future evolution.”
American also will acquire 260 Airbus A320 Family aircraft, with option and purchase rights for 365 additional aircraft. American has the flexibility to convert its delivery positions into the A319 and A321 variants. Deliveries of the 130 current-generation Airbus A320s will begin in 2013. From 2017 however, American will begin taking delivery of 130 aircraft from the A320neo aircraft, which are expected to be 15% more fuel efficient than today’s models.
“American’s order represents a strong vote of confidence in our product in the important North American market, and we feel certain our A320 Family aircraft will help the American team deliver a great experience for customers while helping the airline to achieve cost efficiencies that will benefit its shareholders,” said Airbus President & CEO Tom Enders. “We are proud to renew our partnership with a company that has a long history of airline industry leadership.”
The decision to split the narrow-body order between Airbus and Boeing marks a major coup for the European planemaker. American currently operates and all-Boeing fleet, and the US planemaker sent a top-level delegation to meet with American last week in an attempt to urge the carrier to stick with Boeing. The last-minute negotiations are believed to have tipped the weight of the order towards Boeing, with the 100 737NG options replacing potential A320neos.
American currently operates a fleet of 622 aircraft, with a further 54 orders excluding yesterday’s announcement.