American becomes first US carrier for 777-300ERs

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American Airlines plans to use its new Boeing 777-300ERs to grow operations in slot-constrained airports and serve new long-haul markets.

The Oneworld alliance member announced a firm commitment for two 777-300ERs for delivery in 2012, becoming the first US carrier to order the type.

The widebody deal, announced ahead of the carrier's full-year earnings on 19 January, represents "the next step in our fleet strategy and, more importantly, it underscores our strong focus on network and alliance strategy", says senior vice-president and chief financial officer Isabella Goren.

"These aircraft will facilitate our opportunity to grow in slot-constrained airports as well as a greater ability to serve new long-haul markets facilitated by our own network strength and our alliance partnerships."

aa 777-200er, steven marquez/airteamimages.com
 © Steven Marquez/AirTeamImages.com
American Airlines is adding Boeing 777-300ERs to its fleet. It already operates the 777-200ER (above)

Goren adds: "The 777-300 is a highly efficient airplane and we believe it is a great fit for American Airlines, but, of course, to have a successful future, we must be profitable. So as we evaluate our fleet going forward, we fully recognise that building a thriving, successful business requires a competitive network, a competitive product, and a competitive cost structure."

Acquiring the 777s will help American "bolster [its] network strategy", she says, and take advantage of new opportunities generated through joint business with BA, Iberia and Japan Airlines, the latter due to launch on 1 April.

American narrowed its full-year net loss to $471 million in 2010 from the $1.5 billion net loss recorded the previous year.