Chicago: AMR Corp , parent of American Airlines, said it would buy 460 narrowbody Boeing Co 737s and Airbus EADS A320s between 2013 and 2022, calling it the “largest aircraft order in aviation history”.
It plans to buy 200 Boeing 737s, with options for another 100. It also plans to buy 260 Airbus A320s and will have 365 options and purchase rights for additional aircraft.
The third-largest US airline said it would receive about $13 billion in financing provided by the manufacturers through lease transactions.
“Today’s announcement paves the way for us to achieve important milestones in our company’s future, giving us the ability to replace our narrowbody fleet and finance it responsibly,” AMR chief executive Gerard Arpey said in a statement.
American Airlines said it has the option to convert the new deliveries into variants within the 737 family, including the 737-700, 737-800 and 737-900ER.
The airline also intends to order 100 of Boeing’s anticipated new version of the 737NG, with a new engine. This airplane would be powered by CFM International’s LEAP-X engine, the carrier said.
American Airlines last ordered Airbus planes in the late 1980s and declared in 1996 that Boeing would be its exclusive airplane provider through 2018. For Airbus to win even part of a big order from the carrier is a coup.
The board vote follows tense haggling that saw Boeing agree to match Airbus and update its best-selling 737 medium-haul jet with new engines to offer fuel savings, industry sources said. That marks a retreat from ambitious plans for a full redesign.
The market for narrowbody jet sales is estimated at $2 trillion over 20 years and is split between Boeing and Airbus, whose A320 has made substantial US inroads.
The European company said last year it would put a more fuel-efficient engine in its A320 family and call it “A320neo”. The A320neo is scheduled to enter service in late 2015.
Alongside its order announcement, AMR reported a net loss of $286 million, or 85 cents per share, for the second quarter, compared with a year-ago loss of $11 million, or 3 cents per share.