At Least 5 American Airlines Airbus A321neo Deliveries Delayed

Supply chain issues at Airbus will mean that five A321neos for American Airlines will not arrive until 2020.

American Airlines Airbus A321neo N400AN
The first American Airlines A321neo. Image Source: American Airlines.

American Airlines will still take delivery of 12 A321neos in 2019. Two of the twelve have already arrived, according to reporting by FlightGlobal and information given at AA’s quarterly earnings call yesterday. It will now take a total of 20 A321neos in 2020.

A combination of fleet issues for American Airlines

American Airlines is experiencing a number of fleet issues. The airline has revised its 2019 capacity growth figure down by 0.5% to 2.5%. It has 24 Boeing 737 MAX planes grounded after the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March. And the largest airline in the US says the grounding will wipe $350 million from its 2019 profits. It has had to cancel 15,000 flights set to utilize the 737 MAX, though it is confident the type will be back in operation by August.

The carrier has also temporarily removed 14 737-800s from service this year due to interior retrofit problems.

It is, however, also expecting deliveries of 16 more 737-800s, 11 Bombardier CRJ900s and 13 E175s. This is in addition to three Embraer 175s expected in late 2019, for which it needs to arrange financing. As well as the two A321neos to already arrive in the first quarter of 2019, the airline has taken delivery of four 737-8s, two 787-9s and seven E175s.

An American Airlines Boeing 777-300.
An American Airlines Boeing 777-300. Image Source: American Airlines

Airbus deliveries affected into 2019 after issues last year

In September 2018, Bloomberg reported that it would take Airbus another year to catch up on A320neo orders. It had originally hoped to be back on schedule by the end of 2018.

A320neo production was affected in early 2018 after a fault was discovered with Pratt & Whitney engines. This caused a three-month stop in deliveries of the A320neo. It was also impacted when a further supplier, CFM International, had production issues caused by its suppliers.

At the time, Chris Buckley, executive vice president for Airbus in Europe, Africa, and Asia Pacific, said:

“A lot is going to depend on the availability of engines and we’ve got to make sure that we firmly know what suppliers can do.”

Pratt & Whitney did manage to up the pace of engine delivery in 2018 but the issues will still impact Airbus into 2019.

Airbus chief Guillaume Faury confirmed in late October 2018 that there were delays out of its Hamburg plant in Germany. Faury explained:

“There are a lot of airplanes to be delivered end of 2018, beginning of 2019 to recover these delays. This is a deal with quite a lot of complexity in transitioning from the ceo to the neo…and introduction into service of the two new variants of the A321.”

Other reports this March reveal Aer Lingus has had to postpone a new route from Dublin to Montreal because of a delay in receiving four of its nine expected Airbus A321neo planes.

American Airlines put the A321neo in service earlier this month on a route between Phoenix and Orlando in the US.