American Airlines continues to move forward with aircraft upgrades. Accelerating the conversion of aircraft parked on the ground, the airline now expects the upgrades of the Boeing 737s to be completed in early 2021 and the Airbus A321s to be completed next year.
Pushing forward with aircraft upgrades
As early as May, Simple Flying announced that American Airlines was continuing at full steam with its 737 and A321 upgrades. The airline had parked hundreds of planes and instead of breaking schedules later, it made sense for American Airlines to continue modernizing its planes. Both aircraft are in the process of cabin sealing projects.
The new schedule announced by Derek Kerr, America’s chief financial officer, in the airline’s third-quarter revenue call is as follows:
“We also continue to strive to harmonize our fleets 737 and A321 and expect all our 737 aircraft to operate in the same configuration by the end of the first quarter of 2021. We expect our fleet A321 to be harmonized by spring 2022. “
Why modernization makes sense for the airline
Conversion is expensive for an airline. However, even in a depressed travel environment, this makes sense from a future cost and operational point of view. First of all, it reduces inefficiency. The presence of multiple configurations makes two identical Boeing 737-800 externally operationally different inside. If the American has to swap, it could mean charging some customers for a price.
After the Boeing 737 MAX resumes commercial service, the upgraded American 737-800s will also have the same configuration on the inside as the 737 MAX 8s.
In addition, a denser configuration means more opportunities to earn additional revenue. As more and more people are ready to fly again, most people book at the back of the plane. With more coaching seats, the American can offer additional capacity and hope to earn additional revenue, which will then boost the airline’s financial condition.
What is the new interior?
The older Airbus A321 is being upgraded to a 190-seat configuration. Previously, these planes had 181 or 187 seats, depending on where they came from. After the merger, the American and American Airways Airbus A321s had two different configurations on board.
In the refurbished aircraft, 20 of these seats are in the style of the First backrest with a 2-2 configuration. Then there are 29 additional seats in the main cabin, followed by 141 seats in the main cabin. As long as these planes do not have backrest screens, they will at least be equipped with WiFi so that passengers can watch entertainment on their own device. This upgrade will provide passengers with electrical outlets as well as more space in the upper bins.
The 737-800s move to a 172-seat configuration, in line with the 737 MAX.
Previously, these aircraft were equipped with 160 seats. The modernized aircraft has 16 first-class backrest-style seats and 30 additional seats in the main cabin – the same number as 738 seats with 160 seats. However, the standard economy becomes denser with 126 seats in economy class, compared to 114. The inclination of the seats in all cabin classes and the width of the toilet are reduced to accommodate these additional seats.
Not all 737s can be upgraded. If the American decides to cut off some aircraft from his fleet, it would be logical to discard the older 737s, which have not yet been upgraded. This will also reduce the airline’s future capital costs.
Overall, what do you think of American Airlines continuing its 737 upgrades? Let us know in the comments!