American Airlines has more debt than any airline in world history. The carrier just reduced its intentional fleet by retiring Airbus A330s, Boeing 767s and Boeing 757s. Yet last month the airline told employees they’d go out and buy more planes if the price was cheap enough.
Last week American converted 5 Boeing 787-8s on order to larger 787-9s and deferred those to 2023 when 25 of those aircraft are slated to begin delivery.
Late in the week CEO Doug Parker gave additional context on the carrier’s thinking on future aircraft orders at an internal employee event, a recording of which was reviewed by View From The Wing. Since American has just retired planes, when they’re ready to grow they’re going to need to buy new planes again since the ones they have on order largely just replace aircraft they’ve gotten rid of.
We wouldn’t purchase new airplanes to fly the routes we’re flying now, but absolutely once we get back to a new normal we will be looking to, we’ve now done what a lot of airlines told us to do, which is retire the older airplanes.
A lot of times you see aircraft orders to replace older airplanes. We’ve done a nice job, we have a very young and efficient fleet with all the retirements we’ve done.
So when it comes time to start growing again, which hopefully won’t be too long, we’re going to need to get some new airplanes in. The airplanes we have, even though we’re flying them all, they aren’t being utilized as much as they can be. So we can still get a good bit of growth out of the existing fleet. As we get beyond that we’ll start looking at new planes.
American Airlines Boeing 787-9
It seems that no one likes ordering planes as much as Doug Parker, as his airline also has 787-8s, Boeing 737 MAXs, and A321XLRs also on order.