American Airlines To Retire 50-Seat Aircraft By 2030

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Summary

  • American Airlines plans to retire its 50-seat airplanes by the end of the decade for more efficient options in regional operations.
  • The airline recently ordered a total of 260 new aircraft from Airbus, Boeing, and Embraer.
  • American’s future fleet enhancements also include retrofitting Airbus A319 and A320 planes with more premium seating and amenities for a better passenger experience.

American Airlines’ diverse fleet also comprises many 50-seater aircraft used for its regional operations. But with the ever-changing aviation landscape in which airlines are investing in newer aircraft that are more economical to operate, American, too, plans to phase out its 50-seat planes by the end of this decade.

50-seat airplanes to retire

American Airlines will phase out its 50-seat airplanes from its fleet as it looks towards better alternatives for its future regional operations. The development comes as the airline recently placed a huge aircraft order with Airbus, Boeing, and Embraer.

The plan to remove some of its smaller planes has been in place at American for some time now. Last year, Envoy Air, a regional subsidy of American Airlines, which operates under the brand American Eagle, retired its Embraer ERJ145 aircraft.

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American Airlines’ Envoy Air To Retire Embraer ERJ145 Fleet

The retirement is the end of an era for the regional carrier.

But it wasn’t too long ago when American Airlines bucked the trend and brought back the 50-seater CRJ200 aircraft in 2022 at a time when the type was losing favor with many airlines. These planes continue to fly for American’s regional operations, but with all the recent developments, they only have a few more years of service left with the carrier.

Investing in new planes

Earlier this month, American Airlines confirmed orders for a total of 260 aircraft from Airbus, Boeing, and Embraer. The deal included 85 Airbus A321neos, 85 Boeing 737 MAX 10s, and 90 Embraer E175 planes. This was also American’s largest-ever single order of E175s.

While the Boeing and Airbus narrowbodies will shoulder the task of American’s mainstream operations, the Embraer jets will be operated by its wholly-owned regional carriers. The E175 will come in a standard dual-class configuration and carry 76 passengers, as the airline attempts to expand premium seats across its narrowbody and regional fleets.

American Eagle E175

Photo: Markus Mainka | Shutterstock

Arjan Meijer, CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation, noted how the E175 connects all corners of the United States and “is truly the backbone of the U.S. aviation network.” He also highlighted that the E175 was upgraded with a series of modifications that improved fuel burn by 6.5%.

Fleet enhancement

American Airlines will also modify its existing narrowbody fleet to give its customers a more premium experience. Starting in 2025, the airline will retrofit its Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft. The changes will include a refreshed interior featuring power at every seat, larger overhead bins and new seats with updated trim and finish.

American has said that its A319 fleet will be outfitted with more premium seats for 12 domestic first class seats, while the A320 fleet retrofits will increase the plane’s domestic first class seat count to 16.

American Airlines Airbus A320

Photo: Austin Deppe | Shutterstock

American also has a sub-fleet of A319s that feature rare seatback screens. These planes are mostly deployed on Midwest, East Coast, Caribbean, and South American routes, with passengers often surprised to see entertainment screens upon boarding. Simple Flying has analyzed whether the carrier will remove these screens from its A319s in the article below.

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Will American Airlines Remove Seatback Screens From Its Airbus A319s?

The carrier has already harmonized the interiors on most of its narrowbody planes.

What are your views on this? Please leave a comment below.


  • American Airlines Tile

    American Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    AA/AAL

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub(s):
    Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Miami International Airport, New York JFK Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

    Year Founded:
    1926

    Alliance:
    oneworld

    CEO:
    Robert Isom

    Country:
    United States

    Airline Group:
    American Airlines Group

    Region:
    North America

    Loyalty Program:
    AAdvantage



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