American Airlines to trim capacity, buy 8 more planes

By AFP

July 15, 2010 Updated Jun 14, 2009 at 9:42 PM CDT

American Airlines will cut flight capacity further this year to cope with a tough market and will buy an additional eight Boeing planes in a bid for fuel efficiency, parent company AMR said Thursday.

AMR chairman and chief executive Gerard Arpey said the company was taking the additional steps in response to "a difficult demand environment" and was moving ahead with replacement of its McDonnell Douglas narrowbody MD-80 fleet by Boeing 737-800s.

Arpey said seating capacity would be reduced by 7.5 percent in 2009 compared with 2008 to adjust to weak demand. That compared with an April 15 projection of a 6.5 percent year-over-year decline.

The cuts would be made beginning in late August, the CEO said at a Bank of America-Merrill Lynch global transportation conference in New York.

Arpey announced that American has updated an agreement with US aerospace giant Boeing and now plans to take delivery of eight additional 737-800s, which AMR says are 35 percent more fuel efficient than the MD-80s they will replace.

The modified delivery schedule includes 76 Boeing 737s in 2009 and 2010, including planes it has received, and eight 737s in 2011.

Aprey pointed out that American continues to have committed financing, with some conditions, in place for its 2009 and 2010 deliveries "well into the second half of 2010."

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