Revived American Airlines Goes on a 90-Jet Buying Spree

Fresh from its merger with US Airways, American Airlines  (NASDAQ: AAL  ) today announced agreements to buy at least 90 new 76-seat regional jets from rival planebuilders Bombardier (NASDAQOTH: BDRBF  ) of Canada and Embraer (NYSE: ERJ  ) of Brazil. The aircraft will replace smaller regional aircraft scheduled for retirement.

Specifically, American has placed:

  • Firm orders for 30 Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen aircraft, with options to buy 40 more.
  • Firm orders for 60 Embraer E175 type aircraft, plus options on 90 more.

Together that totals a minimum of 90 jets and potentially as many as 220. Bombardier says that based on the list price for the CRJ900 NextGen aircraft, the firm orders are valued at approximately $1.42 billion. Embraer says the firm orders have a value of $2.5 billion at list price and will be included in its 2013 fourth-quarter backlog.

American is ordering all of its new planes in 76-seat configurations. The Bombardiers will feature 12 first-class seats, 32 main cabin extra seats, and 32 main cabin seats. The Embraers will have room for 12 first-class passengers, 20 more in main cabin extra, and 44 main cabin seats.

The US carrier characterized the planned purchases as an upgrade to the capacity and efficiency of existing planes, explaining that the new planes will "replace smaller, less efficient 50-seat regional aircraft scheduled for retirement." The airline says it expects to begin "welcoming these new planes into the fleet" in 2014. It expects to begin taking deliveries in the second quarter of 2014.

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