American to reduce capacity by 7.5% in 2009


American Airlines will reduce mainline seating capacity by 7.5 percent in 2009 versus 2008, compared to previous expectations for a 6.5 percent year-over-year decline, Gerard Arpey, chairman and CEO, said in a speech at the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch 2009 Global Transportation Conference.

These additional cuts represent a decline in mainline capacity for the second half of the year of about 2 percentage points beyond the company’s previous guidance. As a result, in the second half of 2009 AMR expects mainline domestic capacity to decline approximately 7.5 percent and international capacity to decline by 5.5 percent compared to the second half of 2008.

At the same time, the airline continues to execute on its plan to replace its narrow body fleet with Boeing 737-800s, which are 35 percent more fuel efficient per seat than the MD-80s they will replace.

Based on an update to its agreement with Boeing, American now plans to take delivery of eight additional 737s for a total of 84 new aircraft, with a modified delivery schedule that includes 76 737s in 2009 and 2010, including planes it has received, and eight 737s in 2011.