American Airlines will be unable to operate all of its scheduled long-haul routes in Summer 2022 due to a lack of widebody aircraft, according to Vasu Raja, the company’s chief revenue officer, who issued a fresh message to employees on Thursday.
Many of the issues originate from Boeing’s failure to deliver new 787 Dreamliners as air safety inspectors investigate the company’s production schedule.
For much of this year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been overseeing an inspection of Boeing’s Dreamliner jets, although no completion date has been set. Investigators are checking at least ten Dreamliners that have yet to be delivered to ensure that production issues have been fixed.
“Boeing continues to be unable to deliver the 787s we have on order, including as many as 13 aircraft that were slated to be in our fleet by this winter,” Raja tells employees in the latest memo.
“Without these widebodies, we simply won’t be able to fly as much internationally as we had planned next summer or as we did in summer 2019”.
The absence of long-haul capable aircraft available to operate next summer’s planned schedule contrasts sharply with the start of this year when some widebody jets were still in deep storage.
Although the whole fleet is fully operational, certain widebody planes are still flying domestic and short-haul routes that would ordinarily be served by single-aisle jets.
As a result, American will discontinue service to Edinburgh, Scotland; Shannon, Ireland; and Hong Kong, while Raju claims that the airline would “review” these routes as planes become available. Popular seasonal routes such as Dubrovnik, Croatia, and Prague, Czech Republic, will be eliminated next year as American Airlines prioritizes other routes.
Surprisingly, that prioritizing approach includes a new route connecting New York JFK and Doha, Qatar – a decision that has some observers puzzled.
However, considering China’s Zero COVID plan and Australia’s border controls, it should come as no surprise that AA will “substantially” curtail services to Shanghai, Beijing, and Sydney.
However, AA’s much-anticipated new route between Seattle and Bangalore has been canceled, and the service will be postponed until the airline receives enough new widebodies.
“Our 787 aircraft are an important part of our fleet,” Raju reassured staff. “Despite this delay, we still have great confidence in the Dreamliner and continue to work with Boeing on when these planes can be ultimately delivered to us.”
Raju indicated that AA would be compensated for the delay, but the exact amount is still unknown.