American Airlines introduced its first Airbus A321neo at its Phoenix Sky Harbor hub on 2 April. The airline has plans to add another 16 of the narrowbodies by year-end.
The aircraft flew a round trip to Orlando from Phoenix on its inaugural flight, the Oneworld Alliance carrier stated.
The A321neo is configured with 196 seats, more than any of American’s other narrowbody aircraft and betters the Boeing 757-200s by eight seats. American Airlines intends to reconfigure its installed fleet of 219 A321s, which will have up to 187 seats, in the same layout as the new aircraft.
The airline will operate the A321neo on seven routes from its Los Angeles and Phoenix hubs from June. The aircraft will operate on flights to Phoenix, Orlando and Washington National from Los Angeles, and to Anchorage, Dallas/Fort Worth, Orlando and Washington National from Phoenix.
The carrier will use the A321neo to add seats on several of its routes. The Airbus will replace the 160-seat Boeing 737-800s on both routes to Washington National.
Introduction of the A321neo comes as American’s last new type, the Boeing 737 MAX 8, remains grounded following two crashes within five months. Currently the airline has removed the MAX 8 from its schedules and has had to cancel around 90 flights per day as a result.
American Airlines is the fifth US operator of the A321neo after Alaska, Frontier, Hawaiian and Spirit Airlines.