(Reuters) - American Airlines Group Inc (AAL.O) is sticking with its aircraft delivery schedule, Chief Executive Doug Parker told Reuters on Thursday, bucking a trend by other airlines deferring jet deliveries as a way to save cash in the coronavirus crisis.
Airlines including American are taking steps to reduce costs and downsize their fleets to more closely match a drastic drop in travel demand due to the pandemic.
American had more than 900 jets in its fleet in 2019 and commitments to purchase another 248, according to regulatory filings.
To reduce its overall fleet size, it will accelerate the retirement of older aircraft, rather than push back deliveries as rivals like Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) have announced.
In an interview with Reuters, Parker said the airline will have around 100 fewer jets in the summer of 2021 than it had planned given the early retirements.
“That’s how we’ll reduce our fleet, rather than pushing off deliveries,” Parker said.
Earlier, American said it was bringing forward the retirement of Boeing 757 and 767 jets, Airbus A330-300s and Embraer 190s due to a decline in demand for travel.
The retirements, first reported by Reuters in March, contributed to a $1.4 billion one-time charge in the first quarter.
American is due to receive 69 new aircraft this year, including 18 jets from the Airbus 320neo family and 22 Boeing 737 MAX planes, according to regulatory filings. On a conference call with investors, the company said those purchases were already fully financed.
Delivery of the 737 MAX jets is uncertain, however, as Boeing Co (BA.N) awaits regulatory approval for the jets to fly again since two fatal crashes led to a global grounding last year.
Reporting by Tracy Rucinski and David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Reese and Cynthia Osterman