At a meeting of employees last week American Airlines CEO Doug Parker appeared to put the kibbosh on ordering new aircraft, saying “right now we’re going to fly the airplanes we fly, and we’re not looking to do more orders.”
But Brian Znotins, Vice President of Network and Schedule Planning, chimed in to contradict his boss – suggesting that they shouldn’t be quite so definitive.
Znotins began, “When people ask me as a network planner ‘what’s my favorite airplane?’ it’s the cheapest.” And he offered that if the price is right they’ll buy planes,
If Airbus or Boeing comes to us with a smoking deal, and something that we can manage within our capacity guidance we’re going to listen because the airplane market is tough right now and maybe getting an order in would allow us to take advantage of some low pricing.
But we have to do it within our cash constraints, we have to be able to finance those airplanes. And we have to be able to do it within our capacity constraints. We can’t put too much capacity into the market that’ll get us ahead of demand and depress yields and ultimately result in lower profitability.
These remarks were also picked up on by aviation watchdog JonNYC.
.. and maybe getting an order in would allow us to get some low pricing.” Hint hint?
— ˜”*° JonNYC °*”˜ (@xJonNYC) March 12, 2021
I’d add that Parker caveated “when Brian said the cheapest he meant the most efficient.” He just pledged fealty to environmental concerns in a meeting with the Biden administration.
American Airlines has more debt than any airline in world history. The carrier intentionally reduced its fleet through retirement of, among others, Airbus A330s, Boeing 767s and Boeing 757s. Considering buying more planes, adding to debt, makes little sense no matter how cheap the planes get.