American Airlines Set To Retire 105 Planes Early

American Airlines will be retiring up to 105 aircraft early. This comes amid plunging demand and tough financial conditions. In addition to the Boeing 767s and 757s, a number of Boeing 737s, Embraer 190s, and Airbus A330s will be phased out of the fleet.

American Airlines 737-800 aircraft
American Airlines will retire some 737s early. Photo: Getty Images

105 early retirements

Reuters reports that sources from American indicate that the airline is retiring 105 aircraft early. This includes 76 older Boeing 737s that are around twenty years old, 20 Embraer E190s, and nine Airbus A330-300s. Some 50-seat regional jets are also under consideration for removal. This comes as American already is withdrawing some other smaller regional jets ahead of schedule.

American Airbus A330-300
The nine Airbus A330-300s will be retired. Photo: Mark Harkin via Flickr

Simple Flying reached out to American Airlines for comment. The airline did not specifically confirm the retirements. However, a spokesperson did provide the following statement:

“In March, American announced we’ll 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 maintenance and fuel costs. We continue to make refinements to our flying schedule and fleet requirements based on demand.”

Getty Images
American Airlines is already retiring its Boeing 767s early. Photo: Getty Images

Why it makes sense for American to retire these additional aircraft

In the last month, the airline industry has seen governmental restrictions shut down key international routes and plunging demand at home. As a result, airlines are parking aircraft given major capacity cuts. This is also now turning out to be an opportune time to retire some aircraft.

AMerican Airlines 767
This is a potentially good time for airlines to retire older aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

American’s A330-300 fleet is small with only nine aircraft. The 20 E190s were also scheduled for withdrawal this year. Given the 900-strong fleet, these small types add inefficiency to operations. In addition, cutting the cost of maintenance for these types would be good for the airline’s bottom line. The A330s can be replaced by Boeing 787 aircraft of which American is a major operator.

American Airlines E190
American was planning on withdrawing the E190 fleet this year. Photo: Getty Images

The additional 737 retirements would also help the airline. Currently, American is investing in a retrofit of the type to be operationally similar to the 737 MAX. Drawing out these aircraft would reduce the cost of retrofits. In addition, American is expecting that the 737 MAX aircraft will be back in the sky this year.

American Airlines 737 MAX
The 737 MAX is expected to fly again this year. Photo: Getty Images

The 737 MAX fleet can help cover some of the lost capacity in the meantime. In addition, the airline could take additional MAX aircraft. Not only is the MAX more fuel efficient, but as a newer aircraft, it does not require as much maintenance as the older 737-800s would.

Air travel demand will likely take a while to recover. By the time it does, American can replace these older aircraft with newer ones that allow the airline to streamline its fleet and operate more efficiently. It would also help cut down a fair amount of maintenance costs at a time when the carrier needs to preserve cash.

What do you think about these additional retirements? Let us know in the comments!