American Airlines announced today it has exercised options for an additional 35 Boeing 737-800 aircraft to be delivered in 2011 and 2012.

American says the new aircraft will include Boeing's Sky Interior. Like American's existing 737 fleet, the aircraft will be equipped with blended winglets from Aviation Partners Boeing.

The new order is in addition to American's earlier order for 84 737-800s, of which 52 have been delivered through the end of the second quarter.

The Dallas-based carrier has been using its new 737-800s to replace Boeing MD-80s. The 35 additional aircraft will be used to continue this ongoing replacement programme.

American says the 737-800s, on a seat-mile basis, are 35% more fuel efficient than MD-80s. The carrier reports that this results in "an average savings of 800,000 gallons of fuel per aircraft per year".

American says in its news release that backstop financing has been obtained for all of the aircraft, but did not provide any details on the arrangement.

American first introduced the fleet type in 1999. The airline is now upgrading the interiors on its older 737-800s to match the configuration of the 737-800s that are currently being delivered.

American says with the new order it now plans to have 195 737-800s in its fleet by the end of 2012. According to Flightglobal's ACAS database, American currently operates 129 737-800s and 242 MD-80s.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news