American's network suffers another blow from further Dreamliner delays
American Airlines’ long-haul wings have been clipped once again due to a further delay in receiving new Dreamliner aircraft from Boeing.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier announced that it's pulling back four long-haul routes, and delaying the introduction of a fifth, due to delayed 787 deliveries, according to an internal memo that was viewed by TPG, and first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
American will temporarily suspend service between Seattle (SEA) and London (LHR); Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Santiago, Chile (SCL); and Los Angeles (LAX) and Sydney (SYD).
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Furthermore, the airline will reduce service from Miami (MIA) to Sao Paulo (GRU) to once daily, and it'll delay the start of service from DFW to Tel Aviv, Israel (TLV), which was previously scheduled to commence on June 3.
The airline will file these schedule updates over the weekend, and they'll be reflected in existing bookings by Monday.
In December, American unveiled its preliminary long-haul schedule for summer 2022, which was filed at 80% of its 2019 capacity levels, largely due to the delay in receiving new 787 Dreamliners from Boeing.
As part of the pullback, American cut five international markets, including Edinburgh, Scotland; Shannon, Ireland; and Hong Kong, as well seasonal service to Prague and Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Furthermore, American planned to pare down its domestic wide-body flying, leaving just four routes within the continental U.S. to be operated by a twin-aisle plane this summer.
At the time, American expected to receive all 13 of its new 787-8 jets this year, but that timeline has since shifted.
The Chicago-based plane-maker has faced major setbacks in its Dreamliner assembly line after production issues were identified in the manufacturing process.
The Federal Aviation Administration launched a review of the entire Dreamliner production process in 2020, and Boeing has since halted nearly all deliveries of its 787 jets. (The airline did take delivery of one new 787-8 Dreamliner in April 2021.)
Just this week, the FAA said that it would not let Boeing self-certify its newly built Dreamliners, and it's waiting for a "systemic fix" to address the production issues.
Until the regulators are satisfied, American won't be able to take delivery of the new jets. At this point, it appears that the airline won't get any of its jets in time for the busy summer schedule, which certainly won't help the airline's bottom line.
While American waits for its Dreamliner deliveries, the airline reaffirmed that “Boeing has advised us that they will compensate American for their inability to deliver the aircraft," according to the internal memo.
At the outset of the pandemic, American retired its Airbus A330, Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 fleets. Without those jets — and now without new Dreamliners — American’s long-haul network is suffering.
"Further reducing our international flying this summer is a difficult decision, but ultimately, it’s the right one for our team members and customers," the memo reads.
That said, it's not all bad news for the long-haul network. The airline is boosting a handful of routes, including flights from MIA to Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE), which will operate twice daily this summer, along with expanded daily service from DFW.
Furthermore, American will extend the season on service from Philadelphia (PHL) to Athens, Greece (ATH); Chicago (ORD) to Barcelona, Spain (BCN); and DFW to both Dublin (DUB) and Madrid (MAD) in its updated summer schedule that's being filed this weekend.