American Airlines firms up orders for 787, 737 MAX

Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:34pm EST
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(Reuters) - American Airlines on Monday confirmed orders with Boeing (BA.N: Quote) and Airbus EAD.PA for hundreds of new planes, including 42 Boeing 787 Dreamliners valued at $8.7 billion at list prices.

The deals update and in some cases finalize orders that were part of a landmark agreement for 460 planes that American signed in July 2011, just months before filing for bankruptcy court protection.

The U.S. airline, a unit of AMR Corp AAMRQ.PK, said on Monday that it has placed firm orders for 42 of the 787s, with options for another 58. The orders come as the 787 is under federal review of its design and manufacture following a host of incidents in recent months that have raised concerns about the plane's safety.

American, based in Fort Worth, Texas, also said it had firm orders for 100 Boeing 737 MAX planes and 18 of the planemaker's 777 widebodies under restructured purchase agreements, with options to take more of those models.

Those deals notch up American's 777 orders by two planes, and allow American to convert a number of existing orders for 737 NG jets to the more advanced MAX variant.

AMR said the overall number of planes on order had not changed as a result of the new agreements, nor had its commitment to modernize its fleet.

"We're still committed to having the youngest mainline fleet among U.S. network carriers by 2017," said American spokesman Sean Collins.

In the summer of 2011, American announced that it agreed to buy 200 Boeing 737s and 260 Airbus A320s in what it called the largest aircraft order in aviation history. Including purchase options, the total potentially could total increase to more than 900 planes.

The new agreements with Boeing and Airbus are subject to bankruptcy court approval. American entered bankruptcy in November 2011 to restructure and lower its labor costs. It is in talks to potentially merge with US Airways while in bankruptcy, but also is considering exiting on its own.   Continued...