Boeing Lands Huge American Airlines Order

American has been reducing the number of different aircraft it flies in an effort to reduce maintenance and training costs.

American Airlines Group

AAL -3.55%

on Friday announced a huge order for


BA -3.06%

twin-aisle jets worth more than $12 billion before discounts and canceled a deal to buy rival

Airbus SE

EADSY -0.57%


The world’s largest airline plans to buy 47 new Boeing 787 wide-body aircraft that will start arriving in 2020, and phase out its Airbus twin-aisle planes.

American’s decision follows one of the most closely watched order contests as Airbus fought to hang on to one of its largest U.S. customers, which helped the European company start to match Boeing in the market during the 1980s.

The airline has been trimming the number of different aircraft it flies in an effort to reduce maintenance and training costs, and company President

Robert Isom

said the effort to cut complexity was key to its decision.

“In the end, our goal to simplify our fleet made the 787 a more compelling choice” said Mr. Isom.

American already operates 35 of the Boeing 787 Dreamliners on international routes, and will take 22 of the 787-8 model and 25 of the larger 787-9 jets. The planes will replace older Boeing 767 jets and 777-200 jets as well as Airbus A330 planes. The new aircraft are valued at $12.3 billion based on list prices, but deals of this scale can attract discounts of more than 50%.

Airbus had pitched both its A350 and a revamped version of the A330 to American. The airline is canceling an existing order for 22 A350 jets placed by US Airways, which merged with American in 2013.

American also reached a deal with Boeing to defer delivery of 40 737 Max single-aisle jets due to arrive from 2020 to 2022.

The airline already operates the 737 as well as Airbus A320 single-aisle jets.

Corrections Amplifications
American Airlines Group Inc.’s order for Boeing Co. jets will replace older Boeing 777-200 jets. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that 77-200 jets would be replaced. (April 7, 2018)

Write to Doug Cameron at

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