At an employee Crew News session this past week a pilot asked American Airlines President about weight restrictions flying Hawaii back to the mainland of the U.S. using Airbus A321 aircraft. American cannot fly as many people back to the mainland as they fly from the mainland to Hawaii.
From my understanding we leave people in Hawaii every day because the Airbus can’t make it back to Phoenix with a full load, is that our plan to take people somewhere where we can’t bring them all back?
Robert Isom says “many days I wouldn’t mind being left in Hawaii” but that “it’s one of the reason we keep the [Boeing 757s].”
He goes on to explain that they’re going to keep some 757s in the fleet for five or more years, “We have isolated that fleet of 757s that we think are going to be the ones we can hold onto for the next 5-plus years. We’re going to work those and continue to keep those in the fleet for as long as we can.”
Next year American Airlines will take delivery of Airbus A321neos, and those will go to Phoenix because the current A321CO (classic) would be even more restricted flying Hawaii – Phoenix than it is flying Hawaii – Los Angeles. But the A321neo should be able to fly Hawaii – Phoenix without difficulty.
Management explains further,
American currently takes weight restrictions from Lihue – Los Angeles and on some days Maui – Los Angeles. But the A321neo will have full payload capability out of all Hawaii markets except for Lihue which may take a slight weight restriction.
However the Airbus A321neo doesn’t carry as many passengers as the Boeing 757 it replaces. Thirty-plus A312neos out of the 100 on order will be certified for ETOPs (the ability to fly long distances over water with two engines – Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards, or ‘Engines Turn or Passengers Swim’.
There may be fewer American Airlines seats between the mainland and Hawaii when Boeing 757s are replaced by Airbus A321neos, but the airline could add flights as well.