American anticipates fleet growth in 2013

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American Airlines plans a net addition of two aircraft to its mainline fleet in 2013, as it introduces its first Airbus narrowbodies to its fleet.

The Fort Worth-based Oneworld alliance member will add 59 aircraft to its fleet, including 15 Airbus A319s, five Airbus A321s, 31 Boeing 737-800s and eight Boeing 777-300ERs, during the year, according to a stock exchange filing today. A319 deliveries will begin in the third quarter and the A321 deliveries in the fourth quarter.

American will remove 57 aircraft, including 12 Boeing 757-200s, six Boeing 767-200ERs and 39 McDonnell Douglas MD-80s, in 2013, according to the filing.

Its regional feeder fleet will shrink by 24 aircraft as it retires 21 Embraer 135s and nine ATR 72s, and removes three Embraer 140s, while adding 11 Bombardier CRJ200s.

American is widely expected to announce addition of about 74 regional jets with 66- to 76-seats to its feeder fleet through either an order or a new capacity purchase agreement at some point this year. These will be either the Bombardier CRJ900 or Embraer 170/175.

The additional aircraft are possible under a new labour agreement that American reached with its pilots, which allows for a total equal to 25% of its mainline narrowbody fleet through 2014, that was ratified in December. American had 487 narrowbody aircraft in its fleet at the end of 2012, according to the filing.

Separately, American anticipates that capacity will shrink by 1.7% during the first quarter compared to 2012. Capacity would decline by 3.4% year-on-year if there had not been a larger than expected number of pilot retirements in January and February 2012.