Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Fort Worth-based American Airlines orders a bunch of new airplanes
In mixed news for Boeing, France-based Airbus gets a majority of the orders.
You might call it un-American. At least, mostly so.
In ordering 460 new aircraft to update and modernize its aging fleet of commercial people-movers, Fort Worth-based American Airlines has announced its decision to split its business between Chicago-based Boeing and — um — France-based Airbus. Here's the single-aisle, jet aircraft skinny:
AIRBUS gets an order for 260 A320 family aircraft, 130 of which will be of the "neo" variety (neo = "new engine option").
BOEING gets an order for 200 737s, 100 of which will be equipped with new engines.
The first 230 deliveries (130 from Airbus and 100 from Boeing) are set to begin in 2013; these will be the latest models of existing-engine aircraft. Deliveries of aircraft equipped with the newer engines (which are more fuel efficient and quieter, among other things) will start happening in 2017.
While 460 airplanes may not sound like the biggest order in commercial aviation history (as American states), consider that American's entire existing fleet amounts to just 600 planes — many of them McDonnell-Douglas MD-80s, which — at 20 years of age — are getting considerably long in the tooth in terms of service life.
All the new Airbus planes delivered to American — including those with existing engines — will feature the "large, fuel-saving wingtip devices known as Sharklets," according to the Airbus news release. In civilian lingo, this refers to an upswept wingtip configuration designed to reduce drag (and thus increase operating efficiency). The Airbus release also points out that the A320 family boasts "99.7% reliability."
Which can't help but make one wonder about that other .3%...