This information is accurate as of January 2002.
On November 1, 1966, American Airlines, represented by their then CEO, Cyrus Rowland Smith, placed orders for 16 Boeing 747-123s, with deliveries beginning in 1970.
However, in early 1967, Bruce Connelly, the VP of Sales, at Boeing disclosed that the initial 747 design would fall short of performance targets. American's VP of Engineering, Frank Kolk, accordingly formed a consortium featuring American, United, Eastern, TWA and Delta to develop a set of requirements for an alternate design that they initially called the "Jumbo Twin Air Bus". These requirements featured 220-230 seats, 1850nm range and a weight of 270,000 lbs to allow it to operate from LGA. The twin engine concept was modified to a tri-jet at the request of Eastern and TWA to allow them to operate it overwater on their Carribean routes and across the Rockies respectively.
With Boeing already committed to the 747 design, Douglas and Lockheed emerged as the contenders for this market. By 1968, when these designs were nearing completion, the consortium disagreed as to how they should award their orders. George Spater, who had succeeded C.R. Smith as CEO of American when Smith had become Lyndon Johnson's Commerce Secretary, was of the opinion that all five airlines should pick a single airframe and engine type so as to develop a "strong challenger" to Boeing for subsequent design competitions.
Due to design constraints (specifically dealing with the S-duct air intake for the #2 engine on the L1011), Lockheed was only able to offer the British manufactured Rolls Royce RB211 as an option on their aircraft. Douglas, in the meanwhile, offered either the RB211 or the General Electric GE CF6 (the civilian version of the military CF-5A). Spater favored the RB211, but pressure from C.R.Smith to "buy American" forced him to place an order for 25 DC-10s in February 1968, without specifying an engine choice. Lockheed's chairman, Dan Houghton, immediately began lobbying to offset the purchase of British engines through overseas sales of the L1011. On March 29, a British holding company called Air Holdings Ltd. placed orders for 30 L1011s, followed the same afternoon by TWA and Eastern. Delta completed the L1011 hattrick the next day.
The last holdout was United, whose president, George Keck, used this opportunity to negotiate the price of the DC10 down even further. David Lewis of Douglas not only slashed $0.5 million off of EACH airplane, but also arranged a financing deal in association with GE and Morgan Guaranty to enable United to acquire the CF-6 powered variant on sweetheart terms. American also signed up for this GE/Morgan financing deal and committed to the CF-6 to power their airframe.
As a result, American's 747 program was dead before they even took their first delivery. Nonetheless, they were committed to the 747, and received the first one on May 17 1970. I have enclosed a detailed history of all 16 747s delivered to American Airlines, as well as the 2 747-SPs acquired from TWA in 1986 when AA began operations to Japan from DFW.
N9661 (cn 46/msn 20100) was delivered 17 May 1970, converted to Freighter in 1974 and sold to Flying Tigers as N800FT, leased to Pan Am as N903PA, back to American from 1981 to 1984 as N9661 and retired for UPS as N674UP in December 1995.
N9662 (cn 57/msn 20101) was delivered 16 July 1970, converted to Freighter in 1974 and sold to Flying Tigers as N801FT, leased by Tigers to Lufthansa and El Al, leased back to American as N662AA in 1980, back to Tigers in 1981, back to American for 1982-84 as N9676 and finally to UPS as N676UP until retirement in December 1995.
N9663 (cn 59/msn 20102) was delivered 30 July 1970, operated as passenger airliner for AA through 1984, sold to Citibank and leased to National Airlines as N14943, leased to Cargolux in 1986 as LX-KCV and subleased to Iran Air, Air Afrique and Carribean Airways until 1988, sold to United and operated as N152UA until 1999 when she had the honor of operating the final 747-100 service for UAL.
N9664 (cn 65/msn 20103) was delivered 27 August 1970, operated as passenger airliner for AA through 1984, leased to Avianca, sold to Citibank and leased to Cargolux in 1986 as LX-NCV, sold to United in 1987 and operated as N154UA until 1998, then sold back to Boeing for use as an airborne flight testing facility until October 1999.
N9665 (cn 69/msn 20104) was delivered 18 September 1970, operated as passenger airliner for AA through 1984, sold to Dominicana as HI-472 through 1987, then sold to United and operated as N155UA until 1999.
N9666 (cn 77/msn 20105) was delivered 2 October 1970, operated as passenger airliner for AA through 1978, leased to Braniff through 1980, back to American till 1984, then sold to Citibank and leased to National as N14936, leased to Cargolux in 1986 as LX-LCV and subleased to Iran Air and Air Inter, then sold to United in 1987 and operated as N156UA until 1999.
N9667 (cn 79/msn 20106) was delivered 8 October 1970, operated as passenger airliner for AA through 1978, leased to Braniff through 1979, back to American till 1984, then sold to Citibank and leased to National as N14937 and then Air Afrique, leased to Cargolux in 1986 as LX-MCV and subleased to Iran Air and Air Inter, then sold to United in 1987 and operated as N157UA until 1999.
N9668 (cn 86/msn 20107) was delivered 29 October 1970, operated as passenger airliner for AA through 1974, then sold to NASA as N905NA, the original Space Shuttle carrier.
N9669 (cn 87/msn 20108) was delivered 27 November 1970, operated as passenger airliner for AA through 1984, then sold to Citibank and leased to National as N14939, leased to Highland Express in 1987 as G-HIHO, then Qantas in 1988 as VH-EEI and subleased to Air Pacific, then sold to Aer Lingus as EI-CAI and finally sold to Virgin Atlantic in 1990 as G-VMIA, the legendary "Spirit Of Sir Freddie".
N9670 (cn 90/msn 20109) was delivered 29 December 1970, operated as passenger airliner for AA through 1984, converted to Combi and sold to Pan Am in 1984, then sold to UPS in 1992 and finally to Polar Air Cargo as N858FT.
N9671 (cn 115/msn 20323) was delivered 26 February 1971, converted to Freighter in 1975 and sold to Flying Tigers as N802FT, back to American from 1981 to 1984 and finally retired for UPS as N671UP in December 1995.
N9672 (cn 119/msn 20324) was delivered 16 April 1971, converted to Freighter in 1976, sold to UPS in 1984 as N672UP and retired in December 1995.
N9673 (cn 125/msn 20325) was delivered 20 April 1971, converted to Freighter in 1976, sold to UPS in 1984 as N673UP and retired in December 1995.
N9674 (cn 133/msn 20326) was delivered 12 May 1971, operated as passenger airliner for AA through 1983, sold to Pan Am, leased to Tower Air in 1987, returned to Pan Am until 1991, sold to UPS in 1992 and finally to Polar Air Cargo as N859UP.
N9675 (cn 136/msn 20390) was delivered 25 May 1971, leased to TMA in 1976 as OD-AGM, back to AA in 1977, sold to UPS in 1987 as N675UP until retirement in December 1995.
N9676 (cn 143/msn 20391) was delivered 25 June 1971, leased to TMA in 1975 as OD-AGC, sold to PanAm in 1977 as N901PA, sold to Flying Tigers in 1983 as N820FT, re-registered N629FE after the Tigers-FedEx merger, sold to UPS in 1990 as N677UP until retirement in June 1991.
N58202 (cn 439/msn 21962) was a 747-SP31 delivered to TWA on 21 March 1980, acquired by American in 1986 as N601AA until 1992, then operated by Kazakhstan Airlines as UN-001, Air Finance Ltd. as P4-AFE and finally Air Atlanta Icelandic as TF-ABN.
N57203 (cn 441/msn 21963) was a 747-SP31 delivered to TWA on 8 May 1980, acquired by American in 1986 as N602AA until 1992, now a VIP Transport for the UAE Government as A6-SMM.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada