After months of speculation about its seemingly impending bankruptcy, American Airlines officially filed Chapter 11 protection this morning to restructure its business. The filing comes after years of network issues, hemorrhaging cash and labor disputes, as well as ordering massive amounts of aircraft - perhaps more than any other airline in the world.
According to Boeing and the airline's recent US Securities and Exchange Commission filings, American Airlines holds firm orders for a total of 15 777 aircraft, split between 9 777-300ERs and 6 777-200ERs, as well as orders for 143 outstanding 737-800s.
Of its record 460 aircraft order in July,
only the 100 737-800s have been officially added to Boeing's backlog, part of that 143 narrowbodies still to deliver. In the near-term the consensus thus far points to the bankruptcy hastening the departure of the MD-80s from American's fleet.
UPDATE: Airbus says the 130 current generation A319 and A321 aircraft that were a part of the July order are now a part of its backlog as firm orders.
American Airlines Senior Vice President Craig Kreeger says of the record aircraft buy: "That order is rock solid. Airbus and Boeing will give us the youngest fleet in the industry within a few years ... and that remains an important part of our strategy."
Though even with that assurance, longer-term questions remain about the massive number of unfirmed orders waiting to be put on Airbus and Boeing's books, all of which are dependent on the process of American's restructuring.
Boeing issued the following statement earlier today:
We anticipate as part of American's reorganization that new, fuel-efficient airplanes will be a key part of their ongoing success, so we expect these Boeing airplanes to be a part of it.
We have seen a number of our customers go through the bankruptcy process and successfully reorganize. We hope it will be an opportunity for American to do the same and emerge stronger from the process.
When we entered into our recent agreements with American, we were confident that these assets at issue will be core to their operation in almost any scenario. We have no reason to doubt that today.
Of its orders that are not yet firm, American holds 130 A320neos and 100 737 Max aircraft. Further, American has unfirmed orders from Boeing for 42 787-9s, which are dependent on approval of a new agreement with its pilots. The airline also has purchase rights and options for 365 more A320 family aircraft, 40 737-800s and 60 737 Maxs, and 58 787-9s
All told, American Airlines holds firm, unfirmed commitments, options and purchase rights for 1081 aircraft, 795 of which currently stand as commitments to Boeing and Airbus.