American Airlines Expected to Acquire Alaska Airlines Airbus A319s

Back in February 2018 I wrote that American was in the market for used Airbus A319s and might pick some up from Frontier. And then six months later that’s exactly what they did.

A couple of months ago I wrote that American was again looking to acquire used Airbus A319s.

JonNYC says that American is likely to acquire all 10 of the Alaska Airlines Airbus A319s. Another source confirms talks over Alaska A319s as well. Alaska, which had had an all Boeing 737 fleet, brought on Airbus narrowbodies when they acquired Virgin America.

American Airlines Airbus A319

American is the largest operator of Airbus A319s. Vasu Raja, American’s Senior Vice President of Planning, pointed out in an internal employee meeting in September that there’s a glut of aircraft delivered “2005 – 2012” that are coming off lease or facing significant maintenance. This makes A319s cheap, and appealing to an airline with an established program to manage aircraft of that age.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Have to say that I’ve just flown the 737-800’s on Alaska and not a fan. I hope they reconsider since the A-319’s offer better padding, leg room etc.

  2. Good move by both carriers. AK needs to get back to their Boeing strategy (although it will take a while with the new A321neos in the fleet) and AA is going back to fewer types is better.

    AA should be down to the A320 series (19/21/21neo/21XLR. . 20’s will be retired once the Max is sorted out); 737-800 and -8 (formerly MAX); 787 and 777 and A330 (until more 787 are ordered in 2025). This will improve the scheduling, staffing and maintenance situation at AA a great deal.

    This worked well for USA and AA before the merger and glad they are going back to their operational roots. DL just goes for whatever is cheapest, but wondering if that will continue to serve as they grow larger. . .so far so good. UA, I have no idea if they have a strategy, but Kirby is making the mistakes there he made at AA, which they are now cleaning up.

    SW. . just stick with Boeing, they just had a bad (very bad) year!

  3. Very smart move by AA, picking up used and maintenance hungry planes. The AA mechanics can clearly handle any load and are willing to work hard to make these planes work for the airline.

    Great job by AA!

  4. Alaska would be wise to hold on to some Airbus planes even though it increases their maintenance, spares, and operating costs simply because it gives them leverage when negotiating for new planes.

  5. Those Virgin America A319s were excellent aircraft and I still miss VX to this day.

    Smart move by AA and a great break for AS to clear out the remaining A319s.

  6. Living in Seattle, which Alaska owns, means that in many cases we have to fly that airline. I too prefer Airbus aircraft and it is disappointing that AS is getting rid of this model.

  7. This Will be a great deal for AA. They need these ac to replace the hole left from the Super 80 retirement. AS is strapped for cash and the overpaid for VA and the airline leased everything down to the staplers on their desks. This will be a win for both, AA can get some planes on the cheap and AS can build up some cash flow to pay their lease payments and royalties to Sir Richard each month!

  8. It would be better for all if AA just bought Alaska. Alaska will eventually succumb to the power and wealth of Delta in Seattle, and of Southwest in Hawaii.


  9. American airlines needs to replace Airbus a319 it doesn’t fills the gap.go for Airbus a220-300 a320 a320neo or boeing 737max or the 737ng this will help to add more passengers spaces.

  10. Alaska is a strong and independent carrier that has held its market share to DL in Seattle. No way they will be bought. Also they are turning a profit again and their stock is rebounding so yeah.

  11. Not good news for flyers that like first class upgrades. 319’s only have 8 F seats so the upgrade odds on these flights are brutal…

  12. First and foremost, Alaska is not strapped for cash. They are one of best airlines in the country from a financial position in relation to their size. As of their last earnings statement they have 1.4 billion in cash and cash equivalents in the bank. Their cash flow for the first nine months of this year was 1.4 billion. They have bought back 57 million in stock this year and they have paid half of the two billion they barrowed to acquire VX. The ten A319s they acquired from VX are a small sub fleet and with the 737-700 fleet, the A319s are redundant. Having high lease rates, there is little financial reason to keep them beyond their current lease term. Once the Virgin brand was retired with the last aircraft being painted, there is no more royalties being paid.

  13. Alaska selling the Airbus planes now makes the price they paid for VX even more of a bad decision. Other than more gates, they didn’t really buy anything. They could have spent $4B a lot more wisely. Fortunately for the other airlines, they did them a favor by removing a competitor from the marketplace at no cost to them. This is a win for American.

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