American Airlines, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of AMR Corp., today announced an order for 35 additional Next-Generation Boeing 737-800s, to be delivered in 2011 and 2012.
The 35 newly ordered 737s would be in addition to the 84 new 737s that began entering American's fleet in April 2009, when the Company launched its replacement plan for its MD80 narrow body fleet. The 737s are 35 percent more fuel-efficient on a seat-mile basis than the MD80 aircraft that they are replacing – an average savings of 800,000 gallons of fuel per aircraft per year.
The 737-800s are equipped with Blended Winglets™, similar to those installed on American's current fleet. These wing tip extensions provide significant operating, fuel efficiency and environmental benefits, including reduced noise on takeoff and approach and lower emissions through lower cruise thrust.
The 737-800 provides best-in-class operating capabilities and it is also one of the most widely operated aircraft in the world.
"Purchasing aircraft during challenging economic times is a major decision – a decision we don't take lightly," said Gerard Arpey, Chairman and CEO of AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines and American Eagle. "In the year that we've been operating these new 737s, we've seen they have improved our fuel efficiency, provided environmental and operational benefits, and enhanced the overall customer experience."
Arpey also noted that American has been able to obtain a "backstop" financing commitment covering all 35 of these aircraft. Terms of the commitment were not disclosed.
"These additional aircraft will help continue to reduce our average fleet age and will also help us manage through future fuel price volatility, which continues to be a challenge for the entire industry," Arpey said.
With the 52 new 737-800s already delivered as of the end of the second quarter of 2010, the average age of American's combined MD80 and 737 fleet has been reduced by 1.5 years compared to two years earlier.
Including the 35 new orders and 84 737s that began arriving in 2009, American expects to have a total of 195 737-800s in its narrow body fleet by the end of 2012.
"American Airlines is leveraging all the performance benefits of the Next-Generation 737 to stay competitive, while providing an enhanced passenger travel experience," said Marlin Dailey, Vice President of Sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "American's investment in additional 737s demonstrates real confidence in the 737's technology and economics. In addition, the new interiors on its existing 737 fleet and the new 737 Boeing Sky Interior on deliveries starting in 2011 will ensure American's customers continue to enjoy an exceptional flying experience."
These aircraft will include the new Boeing Sky Interior along with comfortable and spacious First and Economy Class seats, bigger overhead storage bins, updated inflight entertainment systems, and more AC power ports. Over time, American intends to equip all of its 737s with Gogo® Inflight Internet service, which will allow passengers to surf the Web, check e-mail and send instant messages conveniently from the air.
Last month, American Airlines said it is updating its existing 737-800s to match the customer benefits and amenities featured on its newly-delivered 737-800 aircraft to improve the travel experience. The update effort began in May and the retrofitting is being done by American's mechanics at its maintenance base in Tulsa, Okla.