Yesterday American announced that they’ve placed the largest aircraft order in aviation history, completely modernizing their domestic fleet. The order includes over 260 Airbus 320 family aircraft and 200 Boeing 737NG aircraft, in addition to the 130 Boeing 737-800 aircraft that American has already taken delivery of or will be taking delivery of shortly.
This is in addition to the Boeing 787s and 777s they have on order.
When all is said and done, American will have the youngest fleet of any US airline.
This is shocking on a few levels. First of all, I’ve gotta wonder how American secured $40 billion worth of financing for aircraft, given that the industry isn’t exactly in great shape. More importantly, though I’m shocked by the sheer number of aircraft they’ve ordered.
I kind of assumed the legacies had paved out their business model at this point — they realize they can’t compete with low cost carriers domestically (not to mention there’s not a whole lot of money to be made there), so they’d outsource most of their domestic flying to regional airlines and focus on international routes, which are more lucrative.
American, on the other hand, is looking at a fleet of nearly 600 domestic aircraft, so clearly they feel otherwise.
Also, I love the “improved features” they list on their website:
- Enhanced lighting options
- Additional overhead bin space
- A modern, contemporary atmosphere
- Improved environmental footprint with greater fuel efficiency and reduced noise
C’mon, that’s pretty funny. Who needs decent entertainment options when you have things like… enhanced lighting.
Regardless, you can bet I’ll be looking forward to this. If only American picked up a few more interesting international destinations.