AMERICANAIRLINES expects to have to retain and fit hushkits to additional Boeing 727s because of the delay in delivery of new Boeing aircraft resulting from the airline's failure to agree a new contract with its pilots.

The 20-year, 630-aircraft purchase agreement with Boeing, announced in November 1996, was contingent upon the pilots signing a new contract. The first 25 of the 103 aircraft on firm order were to have been delivered in 1998, but American says that, in the absence of a deal with its pilots, Boeing has offered many, if not all, of the delivery positions to other customers.

The airline believes that it has lost 14 deliveries of 737s due for 1998, and does not expect to receive the eight 757s and two777s planned for delivery in 1998. The deliveries of 24 737s, four 757s and two 777s planned for 1999 are also at risk, the carrier says. The pilots will vote on a new offer in May

American had planned to retire all but 30 of its 81 727s, but now expects to keep all of the aircraft in service for longer than planned. The airline also hopes to delay the contractually required hand-over of seven of its 14 McDonnell Douglas MD-11s to FedEx, planned to occur by the end of the year, to offset the delay in delivery of replacement aircraft.

Source: Flight International