Airbus A320neo (left). AA branded Boeing 737 (right) (images via each respective company)
The news has hit the airwaves, American Airlines (AA) wants 460 new jets for their fleet. United States based Boeing will build 200, while France based Airbus will get 260 orders.
Currently, AA has an entire fleet of Boeing built aircraft. With a previous order of 207 jets, Boeing still has 52 to produce on that request along with the 200 more. Not to over strip Boeing's capability, American Chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey said, "No single manufacturer could provide the number and variety of aircraft we need to fulfill our vision for the future." Now, some of the burden is placed on Airbus.
What AA will ultimately get are not all new aircraft, but slightly modified existing planes. From Boeing, they will get 100 regular 737s, with an option for 40 more. Also from Boeing, AA will get 100 "re-engined" 737s, with an option for 60 additional. Re-engined planes are existing platforms with new, modern engines.
From Airbus, AA will receive 130 A320 Family planes with 130 re-engined A320neos, with an option for 365 more.
The engine options are LEAP-X from CFM International and the Pratt & Whitney Pure Power PW1100G. These engines will give the jets they are used on better fuel efficiency and less of a carbon foot print.
AA plans to replace all of their mid-80s purchased 757 and 767-200 airplanes. Aprey wrote, "These new aircraft will enable us to reduce our operating and fuel costs and deliver state-of-the-art amenities to our customers, while maximizing our financial flexibility. ... These new deliveries are expected to pave the way for us to operate the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleet among our U.S. airline peers in approximately five years."
Having flown on an AA 767-200 recently, the upgrade could not come fast enough. Hopefully, AA will start introducing biofuels to their new fleet. At the average of 1.2 miles per gallon on previous generation jets, anything improvement is worth it.
Side note: Boeing 737 operators want a newly designed airplane, not re-engined aircraft. U.S. Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said the 737 is a piece of history. He welcomes a re-engined 737. More on this, in the coming years.