American Airlines To Retire 4 Regional Jets Early Due To 737 MAX Grounding

The 737 MAX grounding is taking its toll on airlines across the globe. Now, as this grounding continues, American Airlines has to take a look at its regional brand. To maintain its contractual obligations with pilots, American Airlines will place four American Eagle jets into retirement earlier than initially planned.

American Eagle retirement
American Airlines will retire four regional jets early due to the 737 MAX grounding. Photo: Getty Images

Four American Eagle jets to face retirement early

First reported at The Points Guy, Simple Flying reached out to American Airlines to confirm this. American Airlines provided the following statement:

We’ll comply with our agreement with pilots. To do that, we are making minimal regional fleet adjustments, including retiring up to four regional aircraft a few months early. We’re working continuously to manage our fleet until the Boeing 737 MAX is re-certified by the FAA

Three jets will exit the fleet in April with the fourth retirement occurring in May. These four regional jets will be 50-seat or smaller aircraft. For customers in regional destinations, these aircraft can be a common sight and an interesting experience to say the least. American will not be retiring any larger regional jets, like the E175, earlier.

American Eagle First
Larger regional jets like the E175 will not be retired early. Photo: American Airlines

The good news for passengers is that American does not expect this to cause any significant operational disruption. As of now, the carrier does not plan on cutting any routes as a result of this.

Why does American have to retire these jets?

American Airlines is doing this in order to stay within its contractual obligations with pilots. This agreement governs how much regional flying American can contract out under its American Eagle brand. Since the 737 MAX grounding, American’s mainline capacity has decreased. And, regional flying can only occur as a certain percentage of American’s mainline fleet. This is in order for pilots to ensure that their jobs are not being outsourced to regional companies that may pay less or offer fewer benefits.

American Airlines 737 MAX
The 737 MAX grounding has reduced American’s mainline capacity. Photo: Getty Images

So, in order to stay within its contract with pilots, American has to retire four American Eagle jets early. These aircraft were to leave the fleet as is in 2020, however, American is just pushing the retirement date up.

American Eagle
American Airlines can only contract a certain amount of flying out to regional carriers. Photo: Getty Images

The contract in question gives American a grace period to comply with unforeseen events like the 737 MAX grounding. That period of 15 months is coming closer to an end as the 737 MAX grounding stretches past one year.


American Airlines is retiring four regional jets early. This is in order for American to stay within its contractual obligations with its pilots as the 737 MAX crisis drags on. The four jets are some of the smallest in American’s regional fleet. As of now, American does not anticipate any sort of passenger disruptions as a result of this move.

Are you glad to see American retire four regional jets early? Let us know in the comments!