Airbus cracks open Boeing’s American monopoly

July 21, 2011

Airbus has broken Boeing's monopoly at American Airlines by clinching a multi-billion dollar orders for 260 of its A320 and A320neo fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft.

American, the world's fourth-largest airline by number of passengers, will also buy 150 of Boeing's rival 737s – and has taken options with both planemakers for an additional 220 aircraft.  It describes the combined deal for well in excess of 600 airliners as "the largest aircraft order in history".

It is hoped the new aircraft, which will be delivered between 2013 and 2022, will help loss-making American back to profitability and regain its former position as the No1 US airline.

The Airbus A320neo aircraft will feature large, fuel-saving wingtip devices known as sharklets which are designed and made by Airbus in Filton. The European planemaker, which designs and makes parts for the wings of all its aircraft at Filton, is said to have sealed its groundbreaking part of the deal by arranging for a small group of leasing companies to supply about 70 aircraft to American while also agreeing to lease about 70 aircraft to American itself.

This will save American having to finance initial purchases as it upgrades its ageing fleet of thirsty airliners. American's parent company, AMR, will buy the remaining Airbus planes which include a mix of A319s, A320s as well as the yet-to-fly A320neo.

Deliveries of the A320neo are expected to begin in 2015. The deal takes to well in excess of 1,000 the number of A320neos now on order and has forced Boeing to re-engine its rival 737 for first deliveries in 2018 rather than opt for a completely new airliner which would not have been ready until the next decade.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the deal at American's Dallas/Fort Worth hub, airline president Tom Horton said: “The A320 family of aircraft will help us achieve improved fuel efficiency and other operational savings, while offering our customers state-of-the-art technology and an enhanced travel experience. We look forward to a successful partnership  with Airbus.”

Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders commented: “We are extremely proud and gratified once again to count American Airlines among Airbus’ global customers. 

“The order by American represents a strong endorsement of our constantly improving single-aisle product line. All of us at Airbus look forward to seeing the American Airlines livery on A320 Family aircraft – and we look forward to fulfilling our commitment to providing the people of American, as well as their passengers, with the highest level of support and service in the industry.”

Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across Bristol for just £120 a month. Email for more information.