American Airlines Shares Their Fleet Plans For the Next 3 Years

Along with American Airlines fourth quarter and year-end results, the airline filed an expected fleet plan with the SEC. They’ve outlined the planes in their fleet at the end of 2018, along with where they’re expecting to be in each of 2019, 2020, and 2021.

The data shows several interesting things.

  • They’ve been taking on used Airbus A319s, and they expect to add more A319s to the fleet. The industry can’t seem to get enough of these small narrowbodies.

  • We’ll start to see the Airbus A321neo coming into the fleet this year and they expect to have 50 by the end of 2021. The A321neo starts out on the West Coast, based in Phoenix and Los Angeles. The goal is that these planes will fly Phoenix and Los Angeles to Hawaii and Los Angeles to the East Coast. Hawaii flying with the aircraft is expected to start in September.

  • Though they’ve been trying to minimize the number of subfleets they operate, they plan to keep their 9 Airbus A330-300s in service. These were delivered to US Airways between March of 2000 and March 2001. They do not have premium economy.

  • American’s 767s will all be gone by 2021. That’s a shame – no one ever figured out how to squeeze more than 7 seats abreast in coach on these planes, so they’re probably the best passenger experience in back in the international fleet. In contrast, Delta is putting new business class suites with doors in their 767-400s.

  • American is taking on a bunch of Boeing 787-8s but only a couple more 787-9s in the near term. That’s odd because American doesn’t seem to know what to do with their 787-8s. They’ve taken business class seats out, so they can’t go to Heathrow, and instead have been flying to Cancun.

  • The MD80s go away this year. That’s nice from an operational standpoint (they break down a lot) but sad in terms of passenger experience — a great ratio of first class seats vs. coach, and everyone loves the 2-3 configuration (at least if they are sitting on the side of the plane with just two seats).

  • The Embraer E-190s leave the fleet, these are large regional jets that are part of the mainline fleet from legacy US Airways.

  • They’re growing the number of large regional jets with first class and soon seat power, while shrinking their fleet of small regional jets.

Here’s the full chart:

2018 2019 2020 2021
A319 126 133 133 133
A320 48 48 48 44
A321 219 219 219 219
A321neo     NONE 17 32 50
A332 15 15 15 15
A333 9 9 9 9
B738 304 304 299 276
B738 MAX 20 40 50 60
B757 34 24 24 24
B763 24 15 6     NONE
B772 47 47 47 47
B773 20 20 20 20
B788 20 20 32 42
B789 20 22 22 22
E190 20 14     NONE     NONE
MD80 30     NONE     NONE     NONE
Subtotal 956 947 956 961
Active Regional 2018 2019 2020 2021
CRJ200 35 21 21 21
CRJ700 119 119 113 113
CRJ900 118 129 133 133
E175 154 174 189 189
ERJ140 51 46 34 34
ERJ145 118 118 118 118
  Subtotal 595 607 608 608

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. Hoping for more in-seat power availability on my regional flights. Mostly on CRJ200/900’s and ERJ145’s.

  2. 1) The 767s are a miserable pax experience, so it’s good that they’re leaving.
    2) Plenty of carriers have found ways to stick more than 7 across in the 767. It’s just AA didn’t.

  3. I for one am saying good riddance to the MD80s. Sure, if you get a seat on the 2 seat side it’s slightly, but in the off chance that you are forced into the back 5 rows, you have an absolutely miserable experience. Not to mention that the interiors were *really* old.

  4. As Hux said, the 767 is miserable in the back. 232 would be fantastic if the seats weren’t 17″ and change in width.

  5. The 787 replace the 767 and the passenger experience is MUCH better on those planes, no questions about it. Also no more domestic 757 or to Hawaii is a god send. The wider seats on the a321, even with less pitch is a better experience. Also announced nearly 80 plus % of aircraft will have power and 100% (except regional) will have hi speed wifi and free live tv.

    Once they can find a replacement for the international 757s (797 anyone) AA will be back to a simple and lean fleet. Best plan I’ve seen from the big 3, DL and UA still have a hodge podge of aircraft types and arrangements and in DL’s case, older then the hills/ plus putting more people in the same new models then AA or UA. (AA a321 new 196, DL a321 199)

  6. @SunViking82 – funny how you fail to mention that DL has 160 seats on its 738s and AA will have 172 post-Oasis. (UA has 166.)

    I’m also genuinely perplexed as to why anyone would care about some stupid streaming entertainment app, especially with wi-fi that should allow streaming. If you have to lug around your own devices anyway (and hold them at certain times during flights even with the tablet holders) or use a tiny phone screen, why does it matter? On the other hand, a nice seatback screen is an actual added convenience. But AA has to rip those out of course, along with shrinking space and reducing seat padding and recline.

  7. The E175 is the E190 replacement. There are a number of E175 shuttle flights (LGA to DCA) where Amtrak is quite competitive which used to be E190s, vs LGA to BOS which is mostly remains E190s. I can see the peak period shuttles being A319 (like it used to be…) and then the off-peak flights being E175s. I also wonder if the BOS-LAX A321T changes removes some slack in the A321T fleet, and the JFK-BOS flights might revert to a more appropriately sized E175. I did enjoy having the entire A321T business class cabin to myself on my last flight.

    On the A319s, i don’t think the additions are demand driven. Moreso the lack of demand – with trip costs on larger A320neo and A321neos being quite competitive. At launch, the A319 was the longer range version that can comfortably do US transcons, but range improvements to the A321 made that the preferred aircraft globally. Airlines overseas are retiring their A319s and US carriers are picking them up at low cost for low utilization on peak periods.

    The 767s are going away not because of investment or density, it’s due to the demand from Amazon (or more specifically it’s partner shippers) for the 767-300ER with those engines. The 767-400s are newer, and also don’t have a cargo conversion program due to the small numbers produced for UA and DL. The demand for the 767-300ER is the likely reason the A333s are being kept despite their small fleet size and orphan engine type.

    On the 788s in 2021 – i wonder how “firm” those orders are for the -8. They could be placeholders for a 787, with the option to change them to -9s or -10s later. No need to scare investors with ASM increases or pay additional deposits to Boeing earlier than necessary.

  8. I think the Boeing B-787, B-777X, and the Airbus A-350 are great long haul options, due to their higher cabin air pressure, and higher cabin air humidity, helping in reducing jet-lag

    These aircraft also have an average 25% reduction in fuel consumption, which is a great win-win for airlines and the environment

  9. Euro Atlantic Airways operating on behalf of LOT (BUD to ORD) has managed to fit 8 across on the 767, with non reclinable Acro seats.

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