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American Airlines won't fly an Airbus A330 again for at least two years

May 06, 2020
3 min read
American Airlines won't fly an Airbus A330 again for at least two years
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American Airlines is acknowledging the fact that international travel will be slow to return after the coronavirus pandemic with the decision to park the rest of its Airbus A330 fleet.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier will park its 15 A330-200s until at least 2022, American senior vice president of flight operations Kimball Stone told pilots in an internal message Wednesday that was viewed by TPG. The airline will close its only two A330 bases, in Charlotte (CLT) and Philadelphia (PHL), and re-train pilots certified on the type on other aircraft.

"Given the current depressed forecast for international demand and no opportunities to profitably use the fleet domestically, we have made the difficult decision to place all of our A330-200 aircraft in long-term storage," he said.

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American, like all carriers, expects to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis smaller than when it went in. Analysts at Cowen estimate that the airline may need to shed as many as 283 mainline jets if it shrinks by 30%.

The carrier has already retired four mainline aircraft types — A330-300s, Boeing 757s and 767s, and Embraer E190s — for a total of 80 planes. The decision to park the A330-200s raises the overall number to 95 jets.

“The whole point of simplifying fleets is to drive the cost structure [down] to where it needs to be,” American chief financial officer Derek Kerr said during the carrier’s first-quarter earning call on April 30. He warned that the A330-200s, as well as 42 older Boeing 737-800s, could also be on the chopping block.

Related: American’s Boeing 767s, 757s among 80 planes that won’t fly again after the pandemic

Post-crisis, American's wide-body long-haul fleet will consist entirely of Boeing 777s and 787s — half as many aircraft families as before.

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Domestic travel is expected to resume before international travel once people feel safe flying again after the pandemic. This means airlines like American will need more of the narrow-body fleets — Airbus A321s and 737s for example — than wide-body fleets that fly long-haul routes over oceans.

American's capacity cuts into June show this trend. International capacity will be down roughly 80% while U.S. will only be down 70%.

Related: American has ‘no plans’ to close hubs when it shrinks post-coronavirus

The airline recently delayed the resumption of certain international routes by a month. Flights to South America that were due to come back in May are now restarting in June, with other flights also delayed a month.

“We all expect the recovery will be slow and demand for air travel will be suppressed for quite some time,” said American CEO Doug Parker on April 30.

More: American Airlines’ most premier domestic route is finally back

Featured image by NurPhoto via Getty Images

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more