American Airlines thinks their May schedule – targeted at 20% of its normal domestic flying and 10% of international – will be closer to demand. That’s what airline President Robert Isom told flight attendants in an online question and answer session on Friday. In a separate session with pilots he confirmed that international would indeed be cut 90%, but explained domestic cuts differently as “seventy to eighty percent.”
In the flight attendants session Senior Vice President Jill Surdek explained international flying would take longer to come back, offering “We’re not going to fly our full schedule for summer for certain. We’re in a really important booking window for summer.” Airline President Robert Isom added, “For a lot of our international service if they’re not booked six months in advance they’re not coming.” And this doesn’t even address restrictions on flying (either on flights, or on who can travel without limitation) that may remain in place in some countries.
All but 15 of American’s 150 widebody aircraft are parked. Over 300 narrowbodies are “sitting around” but Isom added “trying to make best use of time…mechanics continue to work on aircraft reconfigurations..that work will continue.” (domestic reconfigurations to add thinner, less comfortable seats has largely been done at MRO shops, or outsourced maintenance repair organizations).
American Airlines Boeing 787-8 in Chicago
Isom reports American has pulled all of their “Eagle flying” (no more regional jets) from LAX. And in addition to accelerating the retirement of Embraer E-190, Boeing 757, and Boeing 767 jets Isom shares that “from an A330-300 perspective, there’s probably some of those aircraft on leases that are coming off or that are owned and due maintenance” that they’ll retire.
At the same time they’re still planning to take new Boeing 737 MAX and Boeing 787 aircraft this year, complaining that they’re caught up with the suspension in production of 787s but they still expect new planes in 2020. That “accelerates retirement” of some fleet types, but in some cases trades planes they already own for planes they need to pay on – when at least before breaking into the taxpayer piggy bank they were supposed to be doing everything possible to conserve cash.