American Airlines still unsure about the A350


Old and new American Airlines tails lined up at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in January 2017.
Old and new American Airlines tails lined up at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in January 2017.

The future of American Airlines‘ long-haul fleet just got a little fuzzier. The carrier published a fleet plan through 2020 as part of today’s earnings call and it shows a net drop of 9 A330-300s by year-end 2019 and nothing to replace them until maybe the A350s start being delivered in 2020. That’s a maybe because the company has deferred the A350 order a couple times already, but also because during the call management raised the idea of maybe changing it again.

A look at the American Airline wide-body plan for the next few years. Lacking a new order there will be a gap in the fleet.
A look at the American Airline wide-body plan for the next few years. Lacking a new order there will be a gap in the fleet.


Early in the Q&A session President Robert Isom suggested that “We’re working with Airbus and Boeing on other widebody options and we’ll see where we go,” opening the door for other twin-aisle aircraft deliveries in the intervening years.

Later in the call he doubled down, noting that “We haven’t made a decision yet.” In addition to that A350-900 the company is also considering the A330neo and the 787-9.

Read More: A350 deferrals continue as airlines reconsider options

Given that the existing 787 fleet is larger than the A330 fleet the potential for further growth there is interesting. The efficiency of scale on that side could be beneficial to the company, if not necessarily as comfortable for economy class passengers.



Certainly both Airbus and Boeing are keen to secure the additional wide body orders. That makes American’s position a pretty nice one in the next couple years as it figures out what to do with the fleet.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

6 Comments

    1. They can always rent out that sim time or sell it. Or this is just a negotiation tactic to get something extra from Airbus.

      The fact that the deliveries are twice delayed so far certainly doesn’t help, though.

  1. Somebody should tell AA that the B757 is not a widebody although that’s how they labeled it in their plan

    1. They didn’t really label it that way. I consolidated the full listing and left the 752 in there, mostly because the alternating colors looked better, but also because the 752s do some international service.

  2. Evidently they aren’t expecting too much long haul growth. They have by far the weakest footprint outside the Americas.

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