American Airlines To Announce A330-300 Retirement
American Airlines has announced that they have plans to accelerate the retirements of all of their Airbus A330-300s, Embraer E190s and part of their Boeing 767-300ERs. The announcement came via letter from the American Vice President of Flight Service Hector Adler as reported first by Brian Sumers. AA currently operates nine Airbus A330-300s and forty 767-300ERs out of a possible wide body fleet of 146 aircrafts and twenty E190s out of a possible 796 aircrafts from the mainline narrow body fleet. The retirement of the oldest fifteen 767-300ERs has already been scheduled to take place anytime between now and the end of 2017. Additionally AA plans to retire eight more in 2018 leaving the carrier with just seventeen of the newest 767-300ERs left in its fleet.
AA is one of the first airlines in the world that plans to retire the A330-300 and the wide body aircraft will be replaced directly by the incoming and ongoing deliveries of Boeing 787-8, 787-9 and with the Airbus A350 deliveries at the beginning of next year. AA’s nine A330-300s are an artifact of an ancient world before the U.S.
Airways pre-merger which accepted delivery of the aircraft between the years of 2000 and 2001. With the goal of enabling the carrier to build upon its initial fleet of Boeing 767-200ERs to start serving trans-Atlantic destinations, the A330-300 was the perfect fit at the perfect time. Now nearly fifteen years later these A330-300s are effectively on their last legs as they will be an average of 17 years old if retired in 2017 and 2018. There is a larger prevailing sense that the A330-300 is still broadly competitive on trans-Atlantic routes even with the 787 Dreamliner but that misguided mindset is predicated on the current iteration of the A330-300 which has benefited tremendously from several technical improvements over the last decade.
The Boeing 787-9s which are expected to take over for the A330-300s are on average much more fuel efficient and offers twice the functional operating range. Still, the accelerated retirement for the 767-300ERs don’t make a ton of sense as the decision came before the precipitous drop in fuel prices since the middle of June in 2014.
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