American Airlines cuts routes because of Boeing delays

American Airlines will be forced to fly less this summer than it had previously hoped as it waits for Boeing to resume deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner. 

In a memo to American employees, chief revenue officer Vasu Raja said that Boeing will be behind on as many as 13 American 787 deliveries by this winter.  

“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 2019,” Raja wrote. 

Due to the setback, American has eliminated previously planned summer service to Edinburgh, Scotland; Shannon, Ireland; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Prague; and Hong Kong. 

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The carrier will delay the launch of its planned Seattle-Bangalore, India, route and will reduce frequencies to Asia-Pacific region locales, including Beijing, Shanghai and Sydney. 

Raju said American will mitigate the impact of having fewer widebodies than planned by deploying all existing widebodies in its fleet on long-haul routes. Unlike this past year, the airline will not deploy any twin-aisles on domestic or short-haul international routes.

Deliveries halted in October 2020

Boeing initially halted 787 deliveries in October 2020 due to manufacturing defects related to the plane’s fuselage. The company briefly resumed deliveries last spring but suspended them again in late May. 

In a Thursday statement, a Boeing spokesperson said that the company regrets the impact that the suspension is having on customers. Comprehensive inspections of the 787 manufacturing process are ongoing, and Boeing is also holding transparent discussions with the FAA, suppliers and customers. 

“We will take the time needed to ensure conformance to our exacting specifications,” the spokesperson said. “While this has near-term impacts, we are confident this is the right approach to drive stability and first-time quality across our operations and position the program for the long term.”

Raja said that as American makes cuts, it is orienting its network to preserve scale in its largest markets, including Latin America, Mexico and the Caribbean and in key partner hubs like London, Madrid and Dublin. 

The carrier also announced that it will launch daily New York JFK-Doha, Qatar, service on June 4, a move that will leverage the carrier’s partnership with fellow Oneworld Alliance member Qatar Airways.

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