American Airlines has retired all of their 15 Airbus A330-200 fleet with immediate effect. The move has come amidst a fleet simplification in which the airline will only operate the Boeing 737, 777 and 787, as well as the Airbus A320 family.

24 Airbus A320-200s and -300s made up American’s fleet, all of which were previously operated by US Airways. American have already announced retirement of 9 of their A330-300s earlier this year. Most of these aircraft were meant to remain in long-term storage for some time, however, after posting a net Q3 loss of $2.4 billion, American has brought forward their retirement.

On a conference call, Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr said the airline is transitioning to a fleet that is “more efficient to operate”.

“Our long-held strategy has been to drive efficiencies through the simplification of our fleet. With the permanent retirement of our [Airbus] A330-200 fleet, we now only have four aircraft types in our mainline fleet.”

American’s A330s previously flew for US Airways. Picture: Flickr/Tomás Del Coro

American has now retired or grounded about 150 aircraft, with 114 of that figure being permanent retirements. These aircraft include the Boeing 757, 767, Embraer E190, Airbus A330-200s and A330-300s, Bombardier CRJ-200 and “certain other regional aircraft”.

Additionally, American has 51 aircraft with lease expirations through to December 2022. This opens up new avenues for added revenue through fleet simplification and cost-cutting.

By deferring most Boeing 737 MAX deliveries, Mr Kerr says that American has secured finance for all their planned 2021 deliveries. These include newer Airbus A320 aircraft and A321XLRs beyond that.

A Different Fleet Retirement Strategy to Delta

American Airlines’ aircraft retirement strategy is quite different to that of Delta Air Lines. Delta is keeping their A330s and B767s in their fleet, instead deciding to retire their entire fleet of B777s.

Feature Image: Flickr/Anna Zvereva