American Eagle's turboprop fleet to shrink

London
Source:
This story is sourced from Flight International
Subscribe today »

An untold number of turboprops operated by American Eagle Airlines face the chopping block after parent AMR Corp yesterday announced plans to retire some turboprops from the fleet, in addition to up to 40 regional jets and as many as 45 mainline aircraft.

In a prepared statement at AMR’s annual stockholders meeting this morning, chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey said 35 to 40 regional jets operated by American Eagle – which the company intends to divest - “plus some number of Eagle turboprops” will be cut to facilitate a 10% to 11% reduction in regional affiliate capacity in the fourth quarter.

According to Flight’s ACAS database, Executive Airlines – which flies as American Eagle from San Juan – operates 39 ATR 72 turboprops. Fort Worth, Texas-headquartered American Eagle operates 29 Saab 340B turboprops. It also flies 25 Bombardier CRJ700s, 38 Embraer ERJ-135s, 59 ERJ-140s and 108 ERJ-145s.

AMR will try to remarket aircraft earmarked for retirement, says Arpey, noting, however, that the company is still assessing what types will be affected.

American’s other regional affiliates could be impacted by the planned capacity cuts. Chautauqua Airlines and Trans States Airlines operate as AmericanConnection feeders. If AmericanConnection carriers are affected, they would be free to fly the aircraft “for somebody else”, says Arpey.

Additionally, American’s mainline fleet will take a hit in line with a reduction in fourth quarter domestic mainline domestic capacity of 11% to 12%. Forty to 45 mainline aircraft will be retired. The majority of these will be Boeing MD-80s “but will also include some Airbus A300 aircraft”.

“The resulting schedule implications of these revised fleet plans will be made public as we finalize our plans,” says Arpey. Exact figures concerning employee layoffs have not been assessed, but these could be in the thousands, confirms Arpey.

Going forward, American will begin the process of refreshing its narrowbody fleet next year, replacing its MD-80s with more efficient Boeing 737NG aircraft. After accelerating 737 deliveries in recent months, the carrier now expects to take delivery of 34 new 737s next year, with 36 more to arrive in 2010.

From a widebody perspective, says Arpey: “We are continuing to study the relative merits of both the Boeing 787 and Airbus 350 as possibilities for either aircraft replacement or fleet growth down the road. We are also prudently investing to refurbish the interiors of our existing fleet.”


Source: flightglobal.com's sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news