Last month American said that they’ve got too much Boeing 787 capacity because Europe is seasonal, they cancelled 787 flights out of Chicago, and because they keep waiting for their joint venture with Qantas to be approved which would allow them to deploy more 787s on South Pacific routes.
Last year though American ordered 47 more Boeing 787. So what are they going to do with them?
American is going to start flying Boeing 787s from Philadelphia starting early next year. Boeing 767s will continue to retire and be replaced by 787s.
American’s Boeing 787-8 in Chicago
The airline’s Vice President – Planning, Vasu Raja, explained to employees last week that,
The 788 will take out the 767-300. The first big wave of that will start to happen in January 2020. We’ll have 3 787s that go into Philadelphia. By the end of 2020 the 78 will have replaced the 767 in Philadelphia and after that it take out the 767s that remain in Miami.
As part of our recent Boeing order we aren’t just taking 788s we’re taking 789s too. The 789s are very much there to provide future international growth to the airline. That’ll come in any number of our hubs. Over time, and this is going far into the future, the 787 will realistically fly in any of our widebody hubs today and maybe a few others.
American Boeing 787-9 in Los Angeles
A big problem with replacing Boeing 767s with Boeing 787-8s is that American has been taking business class seats out of their 787-8s. The 767 has 28 seats up front, while the 787-8 will have just 20. In fact that’s why they’re having to take 787-8s off of premium routes like Chicago – London.
Meanwhile United is reconfiguring a subset of their 767s to offer 47 Polaris business class seats, while Delta reconfigures Boeing 767-400s to offer suites with doors, both carriers seeing premium cabin demand as key to their revenue growth.
It’s interesting to hear Raja describe the order for 25 Boeing 787-9s as being for ‘future international growth’ since American described the purchase as being to replacing existing Airbus A330-300 and older Boeing 777-200 aircraft.