Americas : American makes dramatic B787 order

Defying the global economic slowdown and resultant airline industry malaise, not to mention labour turmoil and delayed 787 production at Boeing’s key Everett production facility, American Airlines has signed a massive B787 purchase agreement, encompassing up to 100 aircraft. Analysts say the fact that American is willing to commit to a widebody investment of this […]


737-800 Air Canda B787 Boeing Gerard Arpey


Defying the global economic slowdown and resultant airline industry malaise, not to mention labour turmoil and delayed 787 production at Boeing’s key Everett production facility, American Airlines has signed a massive B787 purchase agreement, encompassing up to 100 aircraft.

Analysts say the fact that American is willing to commit to a widebody investment of this scale is a sign of the carrier’s confi dence in its business plan. The move appears part of the carrier’s strategic response to high oil prices. While other airlines have deferred aircraft orders, American accelerated its 737-800 deliveries, reasoning it was worth spending money to make its ageing fleet more fuel efficient.

Under the latest deal American would take delivery of 42 787-as between 2012- 18. The carrier would also secure options for an additional 58 787s, scheduled for delivery between 2015-20. An engine choice has not been revealed.

If it goes through, the initial order of 42 would boost Boeing’s 787 backlog beyond 930 aircraft, a remarkable achievement for an aircraft yet to fly. American would be the largest North American airline customer for the 787, and the fourth largest overall behind lessor ILFC, Qantas and All Nippon Airways.

The September 2012 first delivery target puts American toward the top of the delivery list for the -9 variant. Air New Zealand, the launch customer for the -9, is slated to receive its first aircraft earlier that year. American executives say the carrier has the option to switch the 58 purchase rights to another 787 variant, although the airline has yet to decide if it would be interested in the stretched -10 version that has been mooted.