American Airlines is paring plans for international flights for next summer, eliminating some routes, because of continued delays in deliveries of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
The carrier has to recast its schedule to account for as many as 13 planes that it had counted on having but won’t arrive, Vasu Raja, American’s chief revenue officer, said in an internal memo. American will drop flights to Edinburgh, Scotland; Shannon, Ireland; and Hong Kong and won’t resume flights to Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Prague.
“Without these wide-bodies, we simply won’t be able to fly as much internationally as we had planned next summer, or as we did in summer 2019,” Raja said. Despite the delays, American has “great confidence” in the Dreamliner and will continue working with Boeing on when to expect deliveries.
Boeing is trying to find and repair tiny structural imperfections in the carbon-fiber aircraft while addressing quality lapses among suppliers and their subcontractors.
American also is “temporarily but significantly” reducing frequencies to Asia-Pacific cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Sydney through its route network, and delaying the start of service to some new markets, including Seattle to Bangalore, India. The airline will focus on flying to its strongest long-distance markets and will fly full schedules to London, Dublin and Madrid as soon as it’s able.
To help offset the shortage, American will put all of its wide-body aircraft on long-distance international routes, Raja said. American and rivals Delta Air Lines and United Airlines shifted some large aircraft to domestic routes and short flights to Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America after global travel demand whithered during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Such travel still remains below 2019 levels.
American’s schedule change was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal, which said the Dreamliner delays have derailed plans for American to resume 89% of the long-haul international flying it was doing before the pandemic. The carrier instead will operate at 80% because of the jet’s delivery delays.
Boeing dropped 2.3% to $206.15 at 11:14 a.m. in New York, while American fell 1.3% to $17.99.