A friend of mine is an AA
pilot. Gerard Arpey has made it clear that AA
wants a 100-seat airplane, but there are 2 reasons why there is no replacement being delivered. First, AA
doesn't have the money to spend on 75 new airplanes. That might change when AA
has several consecutive quarterly profits.
Second, there is the issue of who will fly the plane. Management doesn't care who flies the plane, Eagle or AA
, so long as the operating costs are reasonable. This is what will hold up an order.
The problem with flying RJs is that they are cheap to operate, but flying 2 RJs is not as cheap as flying 1 Fokker, by the time you figure out fuel, labor cost, landing fees, cost to service the planes, etc.
Add in the fact that flying 50% to 100% more Eagle flights, as compared to the Fokker schedules, and ORD
is heading for a disasterous summer in terms of on-time performance. In addition, passengers who are AAdvantage Gold and higher are complaining that the RJs have no first-class cabin and reduced space for carry-ons.
The reason that the Fokkers are going is that the maintenance is expensive, due to Fokker going out of business and not making spare parts. The 717s went because of the costly TWA leases and the overlap with the Fokkers.
buy 717s? Yes, but the MD
-80s range in age from 10 to 21 years, and the C-Checks have to be done more frequently than the 727s required. So, why buy a plane that is common to the MD
-80s, when the MD
-80s could start a slow-disappearing act in 5-7 years? The 737-600 more likley, since the oldest -800s are only 5 years old. The knock on the -600 is that it is relatively heavy, and is more expensive to operate than the -700 or -800. AA
could also get 737-700s. The -800s now carry 142 (16 F and 126 C). The 737-700s in MRTC would carry between 108 and 112.
Of course, the question becomes, what replaces the MD
-80 at 129 seats? I don't think AA
wants to have aircraft types with different configurations. They tried that with the MD
-80s before MRTC, and it was more trouble than it was worth.
I think AA
still has around 400 production slots left on its Boeing contract. So going to Embrear may not make sense when there are so many available slots with Boeing.