The wait for American Airlines massive order has ended with the airline announcing on Wednesday that it plans to split and order for nearly 460 narrowbody planes between Boeing and Airbus, the world’s leading plane manufacturers.
Deliveries of the A320 and 737 aircraft will begin in 2013 and last through 2022 and will include current and future versions of the A320 and 737 family.
Under the new agreements, American plans to acquire 460 narrowbody, single-aisle aircraft from the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families beginning in 2013 through 2022 – the largest aircraft order in aviation history. As part of these agreements, starting in 2017 American will become the first network U.S. airline to begin taking delivery of “next generation” narrowbody aircraft that will further accelerate fuel-efficiency gains.
These new deliveries are expected to pave the way for American to have the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleet among its U.S. airline peers in approximately five years.
The order calls for 200 firm orders for Boeing 737s and options for 100 more while Airbus will receive 260 firm orders with options for an additional 365 A320s some of them the re-engined A320neo which is expected to launch in the second half of the decade.
While the massive order was split between the two airlines, Airbus is the clear winner, enticing Boeing, which currently only flies Boeing planes in its main fleet, to order from the European company opening a door for Airbus in the United States, a market it has struggled to break into.
Also interesting in the announcement was Boeing’s decision to re-engine the 737 after strongly implying that it would make a new plane altogether. By re-engining the 737 Boeing gives its customers better guidance on its future plans but the decision will undoubtedly cause some head scratching as to why Boeing waited so long to make the less-risky decision of re-engining instead of building a brand new plane, allowing Airbus to land massive orders for its similarly re-engined plane the A320neo in the process.