American Airlines chief executive Robert Isom has reiterated his message that Boeing must fix its nagging production and quality problems, saying the airline remains committed to the airframer but will protect itself should Boeing continue to flounder.

”I’ve talked to everyone at Boeing I could possibly address, and the message is the same: get your act together,” he says during American’s first-quarter earnings call on 25 April. ”It starts with producing quality products one at at time off the assembly line. Get back to the basics. Quality and safety are paramount.

Boeing has been forced to slow aircraft production rates following quality control issues and safety concerns that emerged following the January in-flight failure of an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9’s mid-cabin door-plug.

American Airlines Robert Isom

Source: American Airlines

Isom urges Boing to get back to the basics

”I can’t tell you if they are making progress or not,” Isom says of Boeing. ”It is all action that matters, not words. We will do everything we can to support Boeing. We need them to be successful in the long run, but we are going to make sure we are protected.”

He adds: ”We have an order for an aircraft I absolutely love, which is the Max 10, and will fit very well in our network. That doesn’t come until 2028. Hopefully Boeing has their act together to produce that aircraft and deliver it. If they can, great. If they can’t, we are going to be protected on that front, too.”

Isom made similar statements during American’s previous earnings call.

By contrast, he had earlier praised the performance of Embraer, the manufacturer of its regional jet fleet. “We all hear in the supply chain of partners or vendors that have really not recovered from the pandemic very well. I want to give a shout out to Embraer. They have delivered day in and day out, throughout the pandemic, no matter the concerns of their supply chain.”

American expects to take delivery of a dozen more Embraer 175s and 22 mainline aircraft this year, comprising 16 737 Max 8s, three 787-9s and three Airbus A321neos. That is seven fewer mainline aircraft than originally expected. 

Despite the shortfall, American still expects to increase its full-year capacity in line with guidance, in the mid-single-digit percent range, year on year.

”While Boeing delivery delays have impacted mainline capacity production, they have been largely offset by improvements in our regional aircraft utilisation,” adds American chief financial officer Devon May. “Aircraft delivery delays are impacting the entire industry, but they are not having the same impact on American as other carriers, since we are not as dependent on new aircraft deliveries as most of our peers.”