American Airlines plans to debut its new Airbus A321neo at its Phoenix Sky Harbor hub in April after taking delivery of its first aircraft today.
The Oneworld Alliance carrier will operate the aircraft between Phoenix and Orlando from 2 April to 2 May, and then between Phoenix and Anchorage from 6 June to 20 August, FlightGlobal schedules data shows and American confirms.
However, the carrier cautions that the dates remain fluid pending a finalisation of the initial A321neo schedule.
American also plans to fly the aircraft from Phoenix to both Hawaii and Los Angeles once it has additional aircraft, it says.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline will add seats in all of the markets where it plans to fly the 196-seat A321neo. It will replace an A321 with up to 187 seats on the Phoenix-Orlando route, and a Boeing 737-800 with 160 seats on the Phoenix-Anchorage route, schedules show.
American flies 757s with up to 188 seats on flights between Phoenix and Hawaii, including to Honolulu, Kahului, Kona and Lihue, according to the data.
The added seats in Phoenix come after capacity reductions at the former US Airways hub. American's seat capacity was down 3.7% in 2018 compared to 2013 when the merger closed, schedules show.
The A321neo introduction is similar to that of the Boeing 737 Max 8, American's last new aircraft type, when it was introduced in November 2017. The 737 flew between just Miami and New York LaGuardia during its first two months in service, before it began operating on other routes.
American took delivery of its first of 100 A321neos (MSN 8647) in Hamburg today. The aircraft flew to Pittsburgh, arriving at 11:52 local time, for post-delivery modifications and familiarisation.
The airline anticipates deliveries of 17 A321neos this year, and a further 15 in 2020, its latest fleet plan shows. The aircraft will be used primarily for replacement, including of Boeing 757s and MD-80s.
American plans to remove 10 757s and its last 30 MD-80s in 2019.