MIAMI – American Airlines (AA) has added its Airbus A330-200s to the list of aircraft types it now plans to permanently retire due to demand erosion from the Covid-19 pandemic, the company said Thursday ahead of its third-quarter earnings call.

The airline has already retired 150 airplanes in a fleet streamlining effort that saw it shed its Boeing 757s and 767s, Embraer E190s, Airbus A330-300s, Bombardier CRJ200s, and “certain other” regional aircraft. Out of a fleet of 1,350 airplanes, some 200 sit grounded due to the pandemic.

In other news from the airline, AA has reached an agreement with US-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing to defer the delivery of 18 of their 737-MAX aircraft. They will now take delivery of these aircraft between 2021 and 2024.

American Airlines 737 MAX PHOTO: Eric Dunetz

Leaseback Sales

The company also finalized a series of sale-leaseback transactions to finance its remaining Airbus A321 deliveries in 2021. As a result, American now has financing secured for all of its planned deliveries through next year.

The moves account for part of what the airline calls aggressive action to reduce costs and preserve cash amid a reported net loss of US$2.4bn during the third quarter; the airline estimates it has removed some US$17bn from its operating and capital budgets for this year, achieved primarily through cost savings achieved from reduced flying.

Although the company saw improvements in demand and load factors in the third quarter, it still expects to see a 50-percent reduction in fourth-quarter capacity year-over-year.  

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker reiterated calls for another round of financial support from the federal government following the airline’s shedding of 19,000 jobs on October 1 with the expiration of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act’s Payroll Support Program. Another 20,000 employees have opted for “early out” or long-term leave.

Featured image: American Airlines Airbus A330-200 (N291AY) at Frankfurt Airport