American Airlines close to placing large order for new narrowbody aircraft  

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American Airlines is reportedly close to finalizing an order for around 100 narrowbody passenger planes. The order is expected to be split between Airbus and Boeing, although the European manufacturer is said to be “likely” to secure the larger part of the commitment, according to sources close to the ongoing negotiations.  

Formal declarations of the final deals, which are said to focus on Airbus A321neos and Boeing 737 MAX 8s, are expected to be made in the coming weeks, although the final split between the types is yet to be finalized, according to the sources. The aircraft supplied as part of any new order would be used to replace aging 737-800s, A319s, and A320s already in service with the carrier. 

It’s most likely that any announcement relating to new aircraft will be made during the airline’s upcoming investor meeting scheduled for March 4, 2024, to be held in New York.  

The order split may well be determined by the availability of delivery slots, with both planemakers already having bulging order books for the respective types until at least 2030. Additionally, commercial airplane manufacturing has recently been hit with supply chain delays and engine availability issues. In the case of Boeing, of course, there’s also an output cap imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration, following the Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX blow-out incident in January 2024. 

Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock

Bloomberg News first reported in August 2024 that American Airlines was in talks with both manufacturers about possible new orders. Additionally, Robert Isom, the airline’s Chief Executive Officer, told employees in a meeting held in July 2023 that American needed to secure new narrowbody planes beyond 2027.  

The carrier is still in the process of taking deliveries from the 460-aircraft deal it struck with both manufacturers in 2011. Partly as a result of receiving a portion of that order, Boeing elected to proceed with the development of its 737 MAX series of airplanes.  

American Airlines is already a heavy user of narrowbody types from both companies, and as such any splitting of the upcoming order would not be totally unprecedented. According to ch-aviation, the carrier already operates 133 A319s, 48 A320s, and 298 A321s. In terms of Boeing narrowbodies, the airline has 362 737s on its books, which includes both 737-800s and the newer 737 MAX 8 variant. 

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