Dallas Morning News
American Airlines in dilemma
on when to replace aging fleet
The airline’s old MD-80s guzzle fuel.
But how long can the carrier wait for the next generation of jets?
By TERRY MAXON / The Dallas Morning News
American Airlines Inc. has a fleet of aging airplanes and a hard decision to make.
Every day it flies an aging McDonnell Douglas MD-80 is another day that it burns 20 percent to 30 percent more fuel than it would use with today’s replacement airplane, the Boeing 737-800.
“There’s no question, from a purely operational point of view, American should be replacing those airplanes – fuel emissions, noise, maintenance,” said aviation consultant Scott Hamilton, who focuses on aircraft manufacturers Boeing Co. and Airbus.
But if American starts replacing its fleet of MD-80s now, it may miss out on a new generation of fuel-efficient airplanes in six or seven years that would burn even less fuel than the 737-800, with fewer emissions and less noise.
To complicate matters, no one knows when the new generation of fuel-sipping airplanes will be ready to enter the fleets of the world’s airlines.
That’s left Fort Worth-based American in a holding pattern.