American Airlines retires its last Airbus A330, goes all-Boeing for wide-body jets

Oct 22, 2020

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The changes to American Airlines fleet continue as the coronavirus pandemic resets flying.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier has retired its 15 Airbus A330-200s, officially making it an all-Boeing wide-body operator of 777s and 787s, American said Thursday. The A330s have been in long-term storage since May.

The move brings the number of jets retired by American to 114 during the pandemic. Gone are its Airbus A330s — both the -200s and -300s — Boeing 757s and 767s and Embraer E190s, as well as the Bombardier CRJ200s flown by its regional affiliates.

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“We now only have for aircraft types in our mainline fleet,” said American chief financial officer Derek Kerr during a quarterly earnings call on Thursday. “The operating efficiencies on the crew, maintenance and schedule are permanent.”

Kerr added that the aircraft retirements “accelerated” the airline’s long-term fleet plans. American’s mainline operations now consist of Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 family narrow-bodies and 777 and 787 family wide-bodies.

In a report Thursday, Raymond James analyst Savanthi Syth estimated that American has removed roughly 10% of the seats it flew in 2019 with the A330 retirements. Delta Air Lines has removed roughly 22% of 2019 seats and United Airlines none having not officially retired any jets.

Related: American Airlines won’t fly an Airbus A330 again for at least two years

American is due to take delivery of around 39 new mainline jets in 2021 after reaching an agreement with Boeing to defer up to eight 737 MAX deliveries. The new planes include 16 A321neos, 10 737 MAX 8s and 13 787s. All of the new aircraft have financing commitments in place, Kerr said.

The fleet changes come as American posted a $2.4 billion net loss in the third quarter. The critical cash burn measure — or how much it loses on a daily basis — averaged $44 million a day during the three months ending in September.

The airline’s daily losses are far higher than those at its competitors. Southwest Airlines achieved a burn of just $16 million a day, Delta Air Lines $24 million and United Airlines $21 million in the third quarter. However, each airline calculates the burn rate differently making direct comparisons difficult.

American hopes to reduce daily cash burn to $25 million to $30 million in the fourth quarter that ends in December.

Related: Airlines expect a post-coronavirus boom in leisure travel, they just don’t know when

Featured image by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

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