American Airlines To Retire Boeing 767s By May 2020

American Airlines is set to ground and retire its entire fleet of Boeing 767s by the end of May 2020, and 757s by 2021. The two aircraft have served American Airlines well and have filled a very unique ‘middle of the market’ role for the airline. They are set to be replaced by a mix of Boeing 787 Dreamliners and the new Airbus A321XLR.

AMerican Airlines 767
American Airlines will be grounding its fleet of Boeing 767s by May this year. Photo: Getty

What are the details of the Boeing 767 retirement?

American Airlines has decided to bring forward plans to retire its fleet of 16 Boeing 767 aircraft, in an effort to remove inefficient models and save on maintenance costs. This is especially important during this time as many airlines struggle with reduced demand.

In a statement published by Aeronews Global, American Airlines outlined the retirement plans of the type:

“We will accelerate the retirement of our remaining Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft. Doing so removes older, less fuel-efficient aircraft from our fleet sooner than originally planned and avoids unnecessary fuel and maintenance costs”.

What is interesting is that American Airlines is not slowly phasing out the aircraft by taking them out of rotation as each replacement is ready. Rather, they are shutting down all 16 aircraft at once and mothballing (or selling them) as soon as possible.

The original plan was to have 10 aircraft retired by the end of this year and then six more by the end of next year.

This will impact some American Airlines routes. For example, as indicated by One Mile At A Time, “discontinuing their Miami to Cordoba [Spain] flight altogether as they retire this plane.”

Getty 767s
The Boeing 767 has a long history with American Airlines, as pictured here in the 1980s. Photo: Getty Images

What about its Boeing 757 fleet?

American Airlines is also retiring its Boeing 757 fleet, but not as fast as the Boeing 767s. It will start retiring them around the same time as the 767s in May 2020 but will phase them out over time until the end of summer 2021.

These aircraft are actually quite old (averaging 20 years) but are modern and have an up-to-date fit-out with lie-flat beds in business.

What is replacing the Boeing 767s and 757s?

American Airlines is expecting a delivery of 22 more Boeing 787-8s to replace most if not all of the Boeing 767-300ERs. These will be delivered slowly over the next few years, but as mentioned 16 replacements won’t be ready right away.

As mentioned, one of the replacement other types for the Boeing 757 is the Airbus A321XLR. It doesn’t exactly carry the same capacity as the Boeing 767, but it can easily operate many of the medium-haul routes that the 767 specializes in.

American Airlines have committed to 50 of the A321XLR. Photo: Airbus

However, this aircraft is still faraway with current estimates suggesting that the aircraft will not be delivered until well into 2023 and up to 2025. It is not known how they will cover these 757s in the meantime.

What do you think of this news? Will you try to fly on them before they are retired? Let us know in the comments.