Sept. 28, 2017, © Leeham Co., Grapevine (TX): American Airlines would like to decide within six months what it will do with its order for 22 Airbus A350-900s, a left-over deal from US Airways before the latter acquired the former.
Derek Kerr, EVP and CFO, told LNC on the sidelines of American’s investors/media day here in a Dallas suburb that the A350s were intended to replace US Airways’ A330s. The airline ordered 22 of the airplanes.
American, however, selected the Boeing 787-8/9 for its mid-size, long haul fleet, ordering
74 42. The new American deferred delivery of the A350s to 2020 and Kerr said a deadline is approaching to decide what to do with the order.
A fleet of 22 aircraft for an airline the size of American, which operates about 1,550 airplanes (including those at American Eagle), doesn’t make sense, he said.
Kerr said the options are to increase the order, swap them for the A330neo, or swap them for more A321neos.
Airbus is pitching the A330-800 to American, which is a size it needs to replace its Boeing 767-300ERs. But the airplane is an orphan—just eight have been ordered—and American isn’t keen on this option so far.
Boeing is pitching a re-order of the 787-8 and the New Midrange Aircraft (NMA), which Kerr says that as presented is of great interest. The NMA is a 220-270 passenger, twin-aisle aircraft with a range of 4,500-5,000nm in the most recent concept Boeing has been showing the industry.
That American has been wrestling with the future of the A350 isn’t new; officials have been open about this. The deadline is new.
American is unambiguous about the prospect of a 100-seat aircraft and relaxing the Scope Clause, however: neither is going to happen.
CEO Doug Parker, responding to a question from LNC at the same event in open session, said there is no interest in a 100-seat aircraft offered by Bombardier in the form of the CS100 or by Embraer in the form of the E190/195 E1/E2.
AA is ridding itself of 20 E190-E1s, another legacy from US Airways. It operates a large fleet of Airbus A319ceos, both from US Airways and from an order from legacy American.
Parker said AA is trying to simplify its fleet, not add complexity that the 100-seat aircraft would add.
He also said there is no plan to ask pilots to relax the Scope Clause, which restricts the number, size and weight of airplanes that may be operated by American Eagle or