Photomontage of an A350 with American livery

Can American Airlines order the Airbus A350?

Rumors are growing that the US carrier is close to a large order for narrowbodies, but also evaluating replacements for its aging Boeing 777-200s.

It is already known that American Airlines is in talks with Boeing and Airbus for a huge new order for narrow-body aircraft, but some point out that the carrier is also studying a replacement for its old 777-200ER.

Aviation watchdog JonNYC goes further and says that American Airlines may even announce a sizable order for single-aisle jets on March 4, when an investor event takes place.

In July 2023, View from The Wing revealed an internal discussion at the airline in which American CEO Robert Isom reportedly stated that new aircraft would arrive from 2027 and that he would not retire any more jets until 2030, after removing several types of your fleet.

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However, no mention of aircraft quantities has been made since then. In the American Airlines fleet, the 777-200, A319 and A320 have a high average age and will certainly receive priority for replacement.

American Airlines Airbus A319 (Colin Brown Photography)

At least 500 single-aisle aircraft eligible for replacement

There are 181 jets from the A320ceo family with around two decades in flight in addition to 218 A321ceo, but they are newer.

Additionally, American operates 300 Boeing 737-800s, the first of which were delivered starting in 1999.

Therefore, there are at least 500 single-aisle aircraft that could be replaced by the end of the decade.

The world’s largest carrier in some respects, American Airlines does not appear to fear the long queue on the Airbus and Boeing assembly line.

It would be naive to think that these manufacturers can simply tell the airline that it will have to wait a long time to get new aircraft when it can place orders for hundreds of jets.

American Airlines A330-200 (Airbus)

But the scenario is unsettling. American Airlines operates 59 737 MAX 8s and has another 71 pending delivery. Also, the airline has 124 firm orders for the A321neo, much of it for the ultra-long-range A321XLR variant.

It will not be surprising if the carrier opts for both competitors in order to not depend solely on one manufacturer.

A new Airbus widebody order after the A300?

Replacing the Boeing 777-200 is also not easy. Since withdrawing its A300-600s from service in 2009 and the A330-200s inherited from US Airways in 2020, American Airlines has only flown Boeing widebody jets.

As it also decommissioned the 767s, there are currently 20 777-300ERs, 22 787-9s, 37 787-8s and 47 777-200s remaining, which are configured with 273 seats in three classes.

American Airlines A300-600R (Aero Icarus)

The 787-10 and 777X do not seem to have excited the company, so the A350 could be a medium-term alternative, offering range and passenger capacity at the height of the 777-200.

Interestingly, American inherited an A350 order placed by US Airways, and even a flight simulator operated at its facilities for some time. The deal with Airbus ended up being terminated before any of them were manufactured.

The consensus, however, is that the successor to the 777 will only be known in the longer term.


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