American Airlines Expected To Announce Game-Changing Aircraft Order March 4, Eyeing Airbus A350s

American Airlines is working on an order for new planes. However it may not just be for narrowbody planes as I and others have reported.

There’s discussion of a widebody order potentially as well – even for the Airbus A350 as a replacement for aging Boeing 777-200s. An announcement, at least for new smaller planes, may come as soon as March 4 which is the airline’s upcoming Investor Day as noted by aviation watchdog JonNYC.

American Airlines A321

I’ve expected a new aircraft order. In fact, I was first to report that American is considering a narrowbody order. CEO Robert Isom told employees in July, “We’re going to need aircraft, and I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point we make a commitment to some narrowbody aircraft as we get past 2027.”

I have not been expecting a widebody aircraft order. They’ve deferred delivery of several of the Boeing 787-9s that they already have on order.

While (like everyone else) American Airlines CEO Robert Isom has been unhappy with Boeing I still expect they’ll get a better deal from Boeing on MAX aircraft to replace older Airbus A319, A320, and some 737-800 aircraft. Delivery slots would be harder to come by for Airbus, though American has suggested that for an airline their size airframe manufacturers will figure it out.

As far as widebodies, adding the A350 to the fleet would be a complete reversal of the airline’s strategy over the past 7 years as they’ve tried to reduce the diversity of their operation.

American Airlines retired too many aircraft during the pandemic. At least there was demand for the carrier’s Boeing 767s as freighters. Northern Pacific wanted some 757s. They were even still paying leases on Airbus A330s.

  • With so many planes off the table, they were unable to take advantage of last year’s travel boom to Europe that fueled profits at Delta and United
  • However, they argued that they positioned themselves well for the future by simplifying their widebody fleet – all Boeing, all 787/777.

American Airlines Boeing 787

It would be surreal for the airline, which cancelled its order for the A350 inherited from US Airways in spring 2018, to grow its widebody fleet by adding the complexity of this new aircraft type. Update: American used to have an A350 simulator, but already sold it. Hah.

The airline has also talked down a 787-10 as a replacement for its Boeing 777-300ERs. But the A350 would presumably be opening up destinations that American has been loathe to fly to, doesn’t think would be profitable for them, and would likely require a shift in route strategy.

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. A330 is the worst aircraft for long haul flying. Actually all of Airbus planes are bad for long haul flying that includes A350. Just look at the small windows on any airbus planes. Anyone with an engineering mind would know those frames are structurally unsound and under optimized. A350 is a cheaply patched together aircraft and its longevity is a big question. A350 is popular in airlines of 3rd world countries who may not have the sense of technical understanding of a cut-up composite material, thought light weight, but weakened and requires metal trims to compensate its lost strength.

    The beauty about 777-200er is that they are all paid for. DL has to pay for the new A350, but UA simply have them maintained at low cost MRO in China. No doubt UA will fly their 777-200s for another 5 to 10 years because it is very cost efficient. Tim Dunn is deadly wrong on this.

    DL plans to open up flight from SEA to TPE with a A330. That is a joke. DL is a US airline with poor services like UA and AA, then squeezing 200+ passengers in an uncomfortable narrow aircraft to compete with CI, BR, JX and UA’s wide body, mostly 777, under current low fare structure for this route, DL will be out of it within months.

    No US airlines needed the range offered by A350. DL and AA don’t even have presence in Asia and their capacity can be totally ignored without being noticed by anyone. Both DL and AA need modern thin route air frame to support their small presence in Asia, that is 787-10 with soon coming 10ER maybe.

    Singapore Airlines A350 is dirty, filthy with overpriced fare. Do you know how long they are going to keep those fairly new A350? 5 years the most.

  2. I would prefer A350 and other larger aircraft …the 787 is a smaller wide body and not as impressive for an airline that claims to be the largest in the world. They should have true jumbo jets maybe 747-8 or 380’s to compete with world class airlines and service in the premium market.

  3. Hernan What BS!! You don’t see Airbus planes loosing door plugs or crashing because of cheap software no one told the pilots about!! Airbus isn’t under investigation by the DOJ either Boeing Fan boy!!

    You holding out of your posterior

  4. Speedbird, you got hold your BS. Boeing had a manufacturing quality problem on 737 Max 9, but not a design problem. Airbus planes are just plainly poorly designed, compromised, and un-optimized. Enjoy your small windows then when you fly Airbus.

  5. Just flew on AA Dreamliner to Lisbon out of Philadelphia, ok plane but the way AA as configured seating is not a dream more a nightmare , seats I measured are narrower than A321 I flew from PHX . I tought by flying a wide body I would had more space , totally wrong even knee space is lower. Interesting , more economical planes doesn’t mean economical fares , but yes more company’s profit

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