During the American Airlines first quarter earnings call last week they discussed the option to retire their fleet of 15 Airbus A330-200s. I speculated back in March that the A330-200s might leave the fleet, and even the unofficial American Airlines fleet site lists the A332s as being retired.
However American Airlines has told employees that they are parking but not retiring these aircraft. Do not expect them to come back soon, though, because they are being stored “into 2022.”
The airline reassured employees, “No crew bases will be closed and no team members will be furloughed at this time as a result of this extended storage plan.” Of course no employees are being furloughed ‘at this time’ because furloughs prior to October 1 are precluded by taking CARES Act subsidies.
American will be flying Boeing 787 and 777 aircraft internationally, and the Charlotte training center will train pilots on Airbus narrowbodies and PSA and Piedmont-operated regional jets. American has two Airbus A330 simulators in Charlotte, but they haven’t made any decisions about the disposition of those. (American even has an A350 simulator, even though they never actually took delivery of that aircraft type.)
I assumed these planes would eventually leave the fleet anyway as part of plans for overall simplification even prior to the pandemic, and as American brought new Boeing 787s on line, though these aircraft were just retrofit with premium economy.
Speculating about this decision I imagine that the A330-200 aircraft are leased into 2022, the lessor doesn’t want them back, and American couldn’t negotiate an inexpensive early-out. They also presumably have obligations to maintain the planes, hence parking them. American has been sued in the past for failing to return leased aircraft on time in proper condition. (Update: Per Doug Parker in a meeting with employees the A330-200s are owned.)