Author Topic: AA MD80 fleet update: New livery & active until 2020?  (Read 3787 times)

Offline N984TW

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I found some interesting news reported by Brandon Farris, a blog writer for Airline Reporter.  He attended the delivery event for AA's first 777-300ER, which was also the first aircraft in AA's new livery.  In reading his blog of the event, I found the gem:

"During the event, I learned that American’s classic MD-80’s will in fact be re-painted with the new identity. The airline plans to use them until 2020, which is different than them initially stating they would be using them until 2018."

http://www.airlinereporter.com/2013/05/celebrating-with-american-airlines-on-a-777-300er-delivery/


While I think the MD80 in the classic cheatline AA Eagle livery is iconic and would prefer they not be repainted, I am encouraged by the news that the fleet will remain active through the end of the decade.  Our previous speculation had estimated retirements of the next 3-4 years; given the large number of parkings and large order of A319s and 737-800s. 

For AA to operate the MD80 up to 2020, the retirement schedule would need to level-off to some degree.  Perhaps once the oldest frames from the 1980s are gone, AA will be more conservative and operate a smaller fleet of younger MD83s for a few more years after? 

Online Douglas Aircraft

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Re: AA MD80 fleet update: New livery & active until 2020?
« Reply #1 on: 10 August 2013 at 02:52 »
The new American Airlines has affirmed the large Airbus and Boeing orders, but also noted that these are an opportunity to renew the fleets of the former American Airlines as well as US Airways.  Checking planespotters.net, US Airways operates some older A320s (22 to 24 years old) and 737-400s (22 to 25 years old), which would presumably need to be replaced before the newer (14 to 21 year old) AA MD-80s.

A number of MD-80 leases were also reportedly renegotiated during bankruptcy, similar to what was done by  Delta.  A greatly reduced lease payment would offset other operating costs.

I'll miss the classic AA livery, but I suppose it is important for the merged airline to make a fresh start.
« Last Edit: 11 August 2013 at 11:56 by Douglas Aircraft »

Offline N984TW

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Re: AA MD80 fleet update: New livery & active until 2020?
« Reply #2 on: 11 August 2013 at 10:38 »
That's a good point.  The older A320s and 737-400s that you mention, surely will need to be replaced before the much younger MD83s in AA's fleet.  I think AA will have no choice, simply due to cycle/durability limits of each type.  This will probably buy some time for the MD80, perhaps adding 2-3 years, which potentially confirms the 2020 date reported by Airline Reporter.

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I'll miss the classic AA livery, but I suppose it is important for the merged airline to make a fresh start.

The Eagle logo is iconic and IMO looks best on the MD80s... particularly when it glissens in the sun.  That said, perhaps it's a good sign that the S80s will outlive the AA Eagle logo.  I can't imagine seeing the terminal filled with aircraft in that logo but no S80s present.  After 30+ years, it just wouldn't seem right. 
« Last Edit: 11 August 2013 at 10:43 by N984TW »

Offline N984TW

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Re: AA MD80 fleet update: New livery & active until 2020?
« Reply #3 on: 26 October 2013 at 23:12 »
I recently found AA's 2012 Annual Report, web address: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=117098&p=irol-reportsannual

If you open the 2012 PDF and scroll down to page 31, you will see that AA reports that 35 MD80 aircraft are on lease with expiration of "2018 and Thereafter."

Along with other unsubstantiated reports on the net, I think this further indicates that AA will operate MD80s for at least five more years. Perhaps beyond 2018 as well. 

Online IberiaMD-87 (Administrator)

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Re: AA MD80 fleet update: New livery & active until 2020?
« Reply #4 on: 29 October 2013 at 18:24 »
I will take a look via your link at a later stage but thank you very much for this important information! Yesterday I read that AA started a while ago to re-configure their remaining MD-80s with additional seats? What is the exact configuration? IIRC, AA wanted to add one additional seat row in Coach (Economy Class).
Up where they belong... www.MD-80.com / MD-80.com on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MD80com / MD-80.com on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MD80com

Offline N984TW

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Re: AA MD80 fleet update: New livery & active until 2020?
« Reply #5 on: 11 November 2013 at 04:56 »
For what it is worth, I recently spoke to a tenured MD83 Captain after a recent flight on AA.  We started talking about the MD80 fleet and I asked him questions about what he's heard in the company...  Based on his knowledge, the leases are more favorable thanks to the Ch.11 restructure and as a result "The MD80 will be with us at American for at least five more years, maybe more."   Sounds good!  :)

Online IberiaMD-87 (Administrator)

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Re: AA MD80 fleet update: New livery & active until 2020?
« Reply #6 on: 06 December 2013 at 08:34 »
At least five more years! This is remarkable!
Up where they belong... www.MD-80.com / MD-80.com on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MD80com / MD-80.com on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MD80com

Online IberiaMD-87 (Administrator)

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Re: AA MD80 fleet update: New livery & active until 2020?
« Reply #7 on: 08 December 2013 at 05:47 »
I had a short conversation on Twitter and one member claimed that "We'll be flying them (MD-80s at American) for another 8 years or so".
This sounds like a Christmas gift!
Up where they belong... www.MD-80.com / MD-80.com on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MD80com / MD-80.com on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MD80com

Offline N984TW

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Re: AA MD80 fleet update: New livery & active until 2020?
« Reply #8 on: 10 December 2013 at 05:39 »
Wow, that would be excellent!  Good job getting inside information, Peter!  ;D

I was reading some posts on a.net with delivery schedules for new aircraft for AA in 2014.  Based on the numbers, it seemed to indicate that anywhere from 20-35 MD80s might be retired next year, depending on how many A319s vs A321s are received.  At an active fleet of 170, that is a slow enough rate to last a few more years. 

Separately, earlier this week I read on APC from an AA pilot that supposedly 100+ MD80s will be repainted and eventually all based in DFW within a few years.  I'm not so sure how I feel about that, but I guess it doesn't hurt the rumor that they will remain active for another few years. 

Question: If DL can operate 117 MD88s profitably, why can't AA do the same with 120 MD82/83s?   ???

Online IberiaMD-87 (Administrator)

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Re: AA MD80 fleet update: New livery & active until 2020?
« Reply #9 on: 11 December 2013 at 06:00 »
It was not really “inside” but very interesting to hear from a person who is more closely associated with AA in one or the other way.
It seems that the once envisaged “fast retirement” is no longer valid. I thinkthat AA had a different cost-structure and this influenced the MD-80-ops in a negative way. I also tend to say that Delta operates their MD-80s on more suitable routes (shorter) compared to the MD-80s at AA.
Maybe other members have more information.
Up where they belong... www.MD-80.com / MD-80.com on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MD80com / MD-80.com on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MD80com

Offline N984TW

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Re: AA MD80 fleet update: New livery & active until 2020?
« Reply #10 on: 12 December 2013 at 10:24 »
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It was not really “inside”

I know, but I give you credit anyway.  ;)

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It seems that the once envisaged “fast retirement” is no longer valid

I agree. With a new mgmt in place, perhaps the plan has changed as well.  I assume AA/US leadership is aware of DL's strong financial performance.  Saving money operating paid-for MD88s has not hurt. 

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I also tend to say that Delta operates their MD-80s on more suitable routes (shorter) compared to the MD-80s at AA.
 

This is probably true and will probably change soon.  Although I admit as an MD fan, it's pretty cool to fly on the MD83 on a 3.5-4 hr flight.  I don't think anywhere else in the world was this as common for the MD80, and AA has been flying MD80 longer range flying for 20+ years.  So many 1-2 hr missions in Asia and Europe, when they were in operation. 
« Last Edit: 12 December 2013 at 10:27 by N984TW »

Online IberiaMD-87 (Administrator)

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Re: AA MD80 fleet update: New livery & active until 2020?
« Reply #11 on: 17 December 2013 at 08:03 »
Just look at this on the facebook-page of American Airlines:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151783576026078&set=a.357237131077.161299.7003656077&type=1&theater

It appears that employees are asked to vote for a "final design". Keep the new logo or return of the old one!

As you all know, I never understood the new livery (regardless of technical reasons) and always described the classic AA-livery and logo as one of the strongest brands in civil aviation - equal to classic logos like Lufthansa, Qantas etc..

What a waste of money to make such a gesture. It confirmes my impression that the new livery won´t last as long as the new one ;D
Up where they belong... www.MD-80.com / MD-80.com on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MD80com / MD-80.com on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MD80com

Offline N984TW

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Re: AA MD80 fleet update: New livery & active until 2020?
« Reply #12 on: 21 December 2013 at 12:18 »
Some interesting data has been shared on multiple forums regarding AA/US 2014 deliveries and retirements.

This includes:

2014 deliveries (AA):

20x 737-800
35x A32x series (A319/A321)
6x 777-300ER
2x 787-800

2014 deliveries (US):

17x A321
3x A330-200

2014 retirements (US):

14x 737-400
4x A320
3x 767-200


The retirement data for AA has not been made official.  Perhaps it is not finalized, as with the merger the the US C-level will be leading the airline.

In analyzing the numbers to determine potential MD80 retirements, we see that deliveries for similar category aircraft will be between 20-75 aircraft.  (20 738s and 35 A319/A321).  I think the 18 US 734 and A320s will be replaced by the 17 A321s, as was planned before merger. 

AA will retire the 10 legacy 762s with A321s for the US trans-con flights by next summer.   Additionally, we can expect additional 757-200s to be retired as well.  (The average age of the 757 fleet is only 3 years less than the MD80, 21 vs 18).  About a dozen plus have retired over the past couple years.  For argument's sake, let's say 10 are retired next year.  That could leave 35 737-800/A319 aircraft to replace MD80s. 

Further research shows that AA have not replaced MD80s on a 1:1 basis in most recent years.  From this analysis, I believe it's plausible that less than 30 MD80s will be retired next year.  This would put AA's fleet total close to DL's MD88 fleet count by 2015. 

According to our three usual sources, here is the current MD80 active number listings:
airfleets.net: 154
planespotters.net: 165
ch-aviation.de: 162 

Online Douglas Aircraft

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Re: AA MD80 fleet update: New livery & active until 2020?
« Reply #13 on: 03 January 2014 at 07:04 »
AA employees have voted to keep the new flag tail logo, rather than the classic AA and eagle:

http://airnation.net/2014/01/02/american-tail-flag/

Close vote!  I would have preferred the old logo over the new one, which looks like a piano keyboard to me.

Offline N984TW

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Re: AA MD80 fleet update: New livery & active until 2020?
« Reply #14 on: 26 January 2014 at 23:12 »
Apparently N976TW has been retired by American.  This is somewhat surprising, as this aircraft was delivered in Oct 1999 to TWA and is the 8th youngest MD80 ever built.  Odd to see MD80s from 1987-88 continue on at AA while this one is parked.  I guess the lease expired while the older frames are paid off? 

http://www.planespotters.net/Production_List/McDonnell-Douglas/MD-80/53626,N976TW-Trans-World-Airlines-(TWA).php


One more thing, I really hope this young aircraft finds another home quick.  Reportedly these last MD83s were built to MD88 standard.  Delta, are you listening?    :P

Offline N984TW

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Re: AA MD80 fleet update: New livery & active until 2020?
« Reply #15 on: 29 January 2014 at 06:57 »
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From this analysis, I believe it's plausible that less than 30 MD80s will be retired next year.

It looks like my prediction was accurate.  According to a an Investor Relations update released today (1/28), in regards to AA's fleet in 2014, "the company expects to retire 25 MD80s."  The report also details that one year from now, we can expect AA's MD80 fleet to 137 aircraft, down from 162 at the start of 2014.

I think this is relatively good news.  My math tells me that at this rate, the MD80 would remain active for another 6.5 years at AA.  Thoughts/comments, anyone? 


Link to the IR update: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=117098&p=irol-presentations

Online Douglas Aircraft

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Re: AA MD80 fleet update: New livery & active until 2020?
« Reply #16 on: 30 January 2014 at 07:41 »
6.5 years from now gets us to 2020, which is consistent with the Brandon Farris prediction at the top of this thread.

I also think the AA and US West merger saved the AA MD-80s, by soaking up some of the huge AA aircraft orders to renew the US West fleet.  Otherwise, this avalanche of new aircraft would have landed solely at AA, and the MD-80s would have been toast.

It will be interesting to see the disposition of ex-TWA MD-80s that are returned to the lessors.  I can think of 4 likely scenarios:

Allegiant fleet

Delta fleet

Some Latin American or African airline(s)

Parts bin

My heart would want Delta, but I think if Delta can get the EVA/UNI MD90s into their fleet, they might be less inclined to add MD-80s.

Allegiant has a big MD-80 fleet, but is lately adding A319s, so I discount them adding more MD-80s.

The parts bin can't be ruled out, but it would be too bad to scrap relatively young planes.

I think a Latin American or African operator is a likely scenario.