American Airlines retires five types that totalled 20 million seats last year

American Airlines retires five types that totalled 20 million seas last year

Of the five types that have been retired, the B757 had by far the most seats within American Airlines.

American Airlines, and American Eagle, have permanently retired all A330-300s, B757s, B767s, CRJ-200s, and E190s. In January this year, they numbered 99. The carrier’s 15-strong fleet of A330-200s, however, currently remain, partly from being younger and retrofitted.

Some, like A330-300s, B757s and B767s, were already earmarked for retirement, yet kept in service longer than expected due to the on-going MAX issue. Meanwhile, the full withdrawal of the E190s were discussed but put on hold to provided needed capacity following the grounding of the B737-8s.

Now, all have been removed, nicely illustrating – as if it were needed – how the coronavirus impact trumps all else.

These five had just 8% of American’s total seats in 2019

In 2019, these five types aircraft had just 20 million seats against American Airlines’ total of 265 million.

They represented 8% of the airline’s total capacity, down from 24%, or 34 million, in 2013 – when American Airlines and US Airways merged. 

When broken down by type, the winddown of the B757 is most obvious.  In 2010, 23 million seats of American’s 137 million were by the type, or 17% of its total.  Come 2019, it was nine million – or 3%.

American Airlines retires five types that totalled 20 million seas last year

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

Their end comes as no surprise

Crises offer the ‘perfect’ reason for withdrawing aircraft, laying off staff, cutting routes, eliminating airports, renegotiating with all suppliers, and so on. 

Even more so when American Airlines’ Chairman and CEO, Doug Parker, said recently that “never before has our airline, and industry, faced such a significant challenge.”

Survival and refocusing on core

The purpose of the retirements: survival.  But, fundamentally, also for a leaner, meaner foundation on which to build for the future from prioritising, right-sizing, and retreating to core. 

The carrier expects to sharpen its core proposition and focus more than ever on it.

When demand begins to return properly and steadily, American Airlines itself will have a simplified fleet based on B737s, the A320 family, B787s, and B777s.  Its B777 fleet will be progressively based on its -300ERs as older -200s are replaced by B787s. 

Meanwhile, American Airlines’ significant harmonisation and densification plan, Project Oasis, continues.  The carrier is adding seats to its A321s and B737s, so driving revenue opportunities and reducing unit costs.

Clearly, its simplified, newer fleet will yield various cost, scheduling, and product benefits, far beyond lower fuel consumption and maintenance. Fleet standardisation is a key element of disciplined airlines.

American Airlines retires five types that totalled 20 million seas last year (2)

The network of the five types in W19. Each type had particular geographic ‘strength’: A330-300s in Charlotte and Philadelphia from being inherited from US Airways and both hubs being ex-US; B757s were widespread but Dallas DFW was #1; B767s were all about Miami and Philadelphia; Washington DCA was #1 for the CRJ-200s; and the East Coast generally, and Boston, New York LGA, Philadelphia, and Washington DCA, was core for the E90s.

Across these five types, what were the top-five airport-pairs?

In W19, the largest airport-pair, by seats, was Dallas DFW – Philadelphia by its B757s.  This connected two of its key hubs.  

Last winter, its B757s were used on a widespread basis across its network, with 85% of its seats deployed domestically. Across its entire network, about 30 routes had 20,000+ B757 seats.

The B757’s top airport was Dallas DFW – as reflected in the airline’s top-five B757 routes – followed by Miami, Philadelphia, and Phoenix.  All American hubs.  Predictably, its top-two inter-state markets were Pennsylvania – Texas and Florida – Texas.

American Airlines’ top-five routes in W19 for the types it has retired (two-way seats)
A330-300s B757s B767s CRJ-200s E90s
Charlotte – London LHR
171,108
Dallas DFW – Philadelphia
268,828
Miami – Philadelphia
190,399
Washington DCA – White Plains
51,400
Boston – New York LGA
253,143
Charlotte – Orlando
138,341
Dallas DFW – Miami
252,912
Cancun – Miami
70,642
Phoenix – St George
44,350
New York LGA – Washington DCA
113,256
San Juan – Philadelphia
86,454
Philadelphia – Phoenix
165,064
Miami – San Juan
64,372
Chicago ORD – Charlottesville
42,900
New York LGA – Raleigh Durham
108,603
London LHR – Philadelphia
84,681
Dallas DFW – Phoenix
159,236
Miami – Guayaquil
63,118
Knoxville – Washington DCA
36,800
Philadelphia – Raleigh Durham
85,734
Charlotte – Phoenix
78,279
Dallas DFW – Las Vegas
96,272
Lima – Miami
62,282
Washington DCA – Greensboro
36,700
Atlanta – Philadelphia
80,784
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

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