Gone But Not Forgotten: American Airlines’ Boeing 757 Operations

American’s B757-200s were an important and conspicuous part of its fleet. However, in 2019, the last full year of use, the type had just 1.1% of the carrier’s flights. The 757 was withdrawn from use as the effect of the pandemic took hold, with 31 aircraft retired in March 2020.

American Boeing 757
American had 70 routes by the B757 in 2019. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

American Airlines permanently retired all A330s, B757s, B767s, CRJ-200s, and Embraer 190s last year. Earlier in 2021, American also retired multiple older B737-800s. The carrier’s A330-200s weren’t initially expected to be withdrawn as they were younger and had been retrofitted, but they later were.

The retirement of most of these aircraft was already planned, but some were kept in service longer than expected due to the B737 MAX issue. Coronavirus offered the reason to retire them sooner and to achieve a leaner, meaner foundation for the future from prioritizing, right-sizing, and retreating to the core.

Like other airlines, coronavirus has offered the chance to emerge stronger and more competitive. Project Oasis has also helped with competitiveness. One part of this involved adding more seats to A321s and B737-800s, driving down seat-mile costs and growing revenue opportunities.

American B757
The B757 had 21 routes from Miami in 2019. Photo: Venkat Mangudi via Flickr.

American had 177 B757s

American had 177 B757-200s in all, ch-aviation.com indicates. The first two (N610AA and N611AM) arrived over 32 years ago in July 1989. N610AA was scrapped at Roswell in 2012, while N611AM is used by the US Department of Justice as N119NA. A good number of the carrier’s B757s were inherited from US Airways.

Looking resplendent is N610AA. This photo was taken in 2012, the year it was scrapped. Photo: Eric Salard via Flickr.

Just 1% of American’s flights in 2019

The writing was on the wall years ago for American’s B757s. In 2004, they had 175,000 flights, but that was ‘only’ 10.6% of the carrier’s total, based on examining OAG data. Since then, the type’s share decreased virtually annually. By 2014, it had just 6.1%, and it fell to 1.1% in 2019.

American's 757 flights (1)
Between 2004-2020, the peak year was 2005, with over 190,000 B757 flights. Source of data: OAG.

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In 2019, Dallas was #1 for the B757

Some 35 airports saw American’s ‘flying pencil’ in 2019, with Dallas the number-one airport by movements, although Miami was firmly second. The type had no scheduled presence at O’Hare (it was last served in 2018), while Charlotte, American’s second-largest hub, had only a small operation.

The type operated 70 routes in that final full year, of which 42 were domestic. The top-four by total flights were all hub-to-hub routes: Dallas to Philadelphia, Dallas-Miami, Philadelphia-Miami, and Dallas-Phoenix.

American's B757 route network in 2019
This was American’s B757 route map in 2019. At 3,742 miles (6,023km), the longest route was Dallas-Keflavik. Image: OAG Mapper.

Miami had the most B757 routes

While American’s Texas hub had the most movements, Miami had the most routes. Some 21 operated, including 11 internationally across the Caribbean, Mexico (only Cancun), and South America. Miami to Quito had more B757 flights than any other international route.

What are your memories of American’s B757s? What’s the farthest you’ve flown aboard it? Share your experiences in the comments.