American Airlines will not accept Trans World Airlines' order for 45 Airbus aircraft worth nearly $2 billion as part of its take-over of TWA. It will, however, take the 30 Boeing 717s already flying and slated for delivery this year, according to airline officials and the aircraft manufacturer.

Boeing and Airbus have been awaiting official word from American regarding its plan for integrating TWA's predominantly leased fleet, which includes 717s, into its inventory. Also at issue was TWA's order for 25 A318s and 20 A319s with deliveries starting in 2003. Late last month, American said only that it would accept leases or debt on approximately 175 TWA aircraft, including Boeing MD-80s, 757s and 717s, while rejecting 10 aircraft in TWA's fleet which do not fit American's fleet mix or are high maintenance items.

Despite earlier rumours that American had no interest in taking over TWA's 50 717-200 orders, both Boeing and the airline say that the merged airline will retain the 15 717s in TWA's fleet and take an additional 15 scheduled for delivery this year. The fate of the remaining 20 717s on firm order is not decided.

American has decided to terminate TWA's planned purchase of 20 International Aero Engines V2500-powered A319s and 25 Pratt & Whitney PW6000-powered A318s. Airbus has not yet received official word from American about the decision.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Justice has cleared the way for American's acquisition of bankrupt TWA. It endorsed the deal after a federal bankruptcy court ruled that only a sale to American would save TWA from liquidation. American hopes to close the deal in April and gradually begin integrating both airline operations.

TWA will cost American $742 million plus the assumption of $3.5 billion of debt.

Source: Flight International