American Airlines expects to defer up to 18 Boeing 737 Max deliveries in the coming years but still anticipates acquiring 18 new Max from Boeing this year.

The company is also deferring delivery of some Airbus A321s, American president Robert Isom says on 12 November.

American currently has 24 737 Max in its fleet – all in storage due to the type’s grounding, according to Cirium fleets data.

American Max

American Airlines’ 737 Max jets.

Additionally, Boeing has in its inventory another 16 737 Max that it produced for American but, due to the grounding, has not yet delivered, says American.

American intends to take delivery of those aircraft, plus another two it has on order, starting when the Federal Aviation Administration lifts the type’s grounding. Boeing predicts that will happen before year end.

“Those 18 aircraft – we want them to come in,” Isom says, speaking during a transportation conference hosted by financial services company Baird.

American reached a settlement with Boeing related to the delayed delivery of those jets, he adds.

The Fort Worth-based airline is also scheduled to receive another 18 737 Max between 2021 and 2022. But American holds rights with Boeing to defer those deliveries.

Market conditions would have to “get much, much better” for American to take those jets as scheduled, Isom says. “Assumptions are, over time, that they will be deferred.”

The carrier has also deferred delivery of “four to five” A321s it had been scheduled to receive in 2021, he adds.

The deferrals come as American has otherwise overhauled its fleet by retiring some 150 jets, including 757s, 767s, Embraer 190s and A330s.

The retirements help streamline American’s pilot-training requirements and mean the carrier needs fewer pilots, Isom says.

American aims to strip $1 billion from its 2020 costs through fleet changes and other cost-cutting measures.

This year the carrier cut its workforce by about 40,000 staff, or roughly 30% of its 133,700-strong workforce at the end of 2019.