Capacity-cutting American Airlines to stock up on Dreamliners
American Airlines plans to add 22 new Boeing 787 Dreamliner wide-bodies to its fleet of 947 aircraft. The announcement comes at a time when the slump in demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak forced the U.S. legacy carrier to cut its capacity by as much as 55% on some routes.
The new planes will be acquired via lease and be powered by General Electric GEnx engines. Deliveries are scheduled in 2020 and 2021. The news was revealed by the aircraft lessor BOC Aviation on March 9, 2020.
The lease agreement is the first one of this scale for the leasing company. “We are excited to welcome American as a new customer to BOC Aviation, and to celebrate a new milestone, as this transaction becomes the largest lease commitment in our history,” BOC Aviation CEO Robert Martin is cited as saying in a statement.
On March 10, 2020, American Airlines revealed it was reducing its international capacity for the summer peak by an additional 10%. The reduction includes a whooping 55% capacity cut on the airline’s trans-Pacific routes. In addition, the U.S. carrier is also cutting 7.5% of flights off its domestic schedule.
Amid the changes, American Airlines would redeploy widebody aircraft on its key domestic routes. Boeing 787-9 would also serve on the airline’s new seasonal service between Chicago (ORD) and Honolulu (HNL), according to the carrier’s statement.
The capacity cuts come in response to demand fall, related to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) global outbreak.
American Airlines already flies 42 GEnx-powered Dreamliners, including 20 787-8 and 22 787-9s. From the previous order with Boeing, the airline is still awaiting deliveries of 25 787-9s, as of January 31, 2020.