American Airlines says it is delaying delivery of 35 new Airbus jets for several years.
American was supposed to take the Airbus A320neo planes in 2017 and 2018. In a regulatory filing Monday, American said that the deliveries will be delayed until 2021 through 2023. Spokesman Joshua Freed said deferring the planes would give American more flexibility over passenger-carrying capacity.
The 35 planes carried a list price of nearly $3.2 billion in 2011, when American placed huge orders with Europe's Airbus and U.S. rival Boeing Co. Airlines routinely get large discounts from list prices.
American filed for bankruptcy protection four months after placing the jet orders and slashed many costs but held on to the orders, which included financing from Airbus and Boeing, as an important step to modernize an aging fleet. American later merged with US Airways and has since posted record profits as U.S. airlines benefit from consolidation and reduced competition.
Recently, however, stocks of the major U.S. airlines have fallen as investors grew concerned that overly rapid growth spurred by cheaper fuel would lead to lower fares and shrinking profits.
The planes that American is deferring are a new, more fuel-efficient model of the Airbus A320, a popular single-aisle plane that competes with the Boeing 737 for use on domestic flights and typically has about 150 to 180 seats. With the deferrals, American expects to buy its first 25 A320neos in 2019 and 75 more in 2020 and later years.
Shares of Fort Worth-based American Airlines Group Inc. fell 9 cents to $40.61 in midday trading. They have dropped 24 percent this year after gaining 112 percent in 2014.