American Airlines has taken delivery of its first Airbus A321neo, making it the latest US carrier to add the re-engined narrowbody to its fleet.
Airbus handed over the aircraft (MSN 8647) to the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier in Hamburg today, the airframer says. It is equipped with CFM International Leap-1A engines.
American is the fifth US carrier to take delivery of an A320neo family aircraft, after Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and Spirit Airlines. It has firm orders for 100 A321neos with 17 due this year according to American’s latest fleet plan.
The mainline carrier had planned to take 22 A321neos this year but deferred five aircraft in mid-2018 citing a weak revenue environment.
American will use the A321neo, which it configures with 196 seats, to replace ageing Boeing 757-200s and MD-80s in its fleet. It plans to remove 10 757s and its last 30 MD-80s in 2019.
All of American’s A321neo orders are for the standard variant, however, it is seen as a likely candidate to convert some aircraft to the long-range A321LR. Airbus has positioned the LR variant as a replacement for the 757 in some longer markets, including transatlantic markets.
The airline will have 24 757-200s in its fleet at the end of 2019, its fleet plan shows.
Their new A321neo contains 20 domestic first class seats, 47 ‘main cabin extra’ and 129 ‘main cabin’ seats.
Flight attendants may not like the layout, American Airlines has packed in more customers to serve, especially more first-class customers without any extra crew. So the layout document highlights more jump seats and dedicated power for flight attendants to charge their devices. American’s defenders will say that this plane has just 4 more seats than Delta’s Airbus A321s. Three years ago Delta had 195 seats (compared to American’s 196 in this layout) but took away 3 seats because it was just too many and didn’t leave crew enough room to work.
American has ferried its first A321neo to Pittsburgh where American’s technical operations team there will install ViaSat high-speed WiFi, perform avionics checks, install American-specific aircraft modifications and undergo general checks. The ViaSat WiFi will come in handy as the aircraft doesn’t feature seatback entertainment, favouring streaming entertainment instead.