American Airlines marked the latest milestone in its nearly two-year restructuring with the delivery of its first Airbus A319 on 23 July.
The 128-seat jet symbolises what the carrier hopes to achieve from its bankruptcy reorganistion. A young-at-heart airline with a product to compete with the best the US airline industry has to offer.
“Nothing like a younger fleet invigorates an airline,” says Tom Horton, chairman and chief executive of the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier, during a ceremony in Hamburg.
The A319 is outfitted with Recaro slimline seats in economy, in-seat audio video on demand (AVOD) from Thales, electrical outlets at every seat and Gogo wi-fi throughout the aircraft. This puts American on the level, at least amenity-wise, with the likes of JetBlue Airways and Virgin America.
The A319, registration N8001N and manufacturer’s serial number 5678, will enter service to Charlotte, Cleveland, Memphis and Wichita on 16 September.
Of course, it is only one aircraft for now and 20 by the end of the year – 15 A319s and five A321s. American has 130 of the type on order with deliveries through 2017, but declines to comment on how many of each variant it will take. Preferring instead to emphasise the “flexibility” of the order.
The first A321 is scheduled for delivery in September.
With its first A319 in hand, American flew the aircraft back to Dallas-Fort Worth today with a stop in Bangor to clear customs, refuel and, if the pilots have their way, pick up a few fresh lobsters.