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American Airlines suspends more flights amid Dreamliner delays

written by Isabella Richards | February 22, 2022

American Airlines has confirmed it will suspend flights from certain US, UK and Australian routes from 5 May, in light of ongoing delivery delays on its fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

In a regulatory filing in the US, the carrier said that Boeing has delayed deliveries of its new 787 Dreamliner jets, with the airline now planning to accept only 10 of the 13 Dreamliners it had scheduled for delivery this year. The remaining three aircraft will be delivered next year.

The delayed deliveries have forced American to slim down its flight schedule for the northern hemisphere summer season, with flights temporarily suspended between LA and Sydney, as well as Seattle and London, and Dallas and Santiago.

American has not yet set a new date to restart the Sydney route.

The airline will also delay the launch of its new services between Dallas and Tel Aviv and cut down frequency on its Miami and São Paulo route.

It comes after American earlier this month quietly erased its LA-Sydney route from its flight schedule for the month of May.


The airline said affected customers with bookings falling after 5 May will be “proactively” contacted to make alternative arrangements, with passengers likely to be moved onto flights operated by American’s Oneworld alliance partner Qantas.

Meanwhile, US rivals United Airlines and Delta Air Lines continue to operate daily flights between Sydney and LA.

Boeing has been forced to halt all deliveries of new 787 widebody jets largely since October 2020, after a slew of manufacturing defects were located. Since then, the number of defects found has increased.

The planemaker briefly restarted deliveries in March 2021, however, the US Federal Aviation Administration again stepped in to halt future deliveries in July, after another fault was found near the nose of the aircraft.

The FAA has said while the issue “poses no immediate threat to flight safety, Boeing has committed to fix these airplanes before resuming deliveries”. It is not yet clear when 787 deliveries will restart.

American noted in its filing that the Boeing 787 remains an “essential” part of its fleet, and that Boeing would compensate the company for the delayed deliveries.

“Despite the ongoing delay, we still have tremendous confidence in the aircraft and will continue to work with Boeing on their delivery,” the airline said.

American previously flagged in December 2021 that changes were likely to be made to its summer international flight schedule, should 787 deliveries remain halted.

“Boeing continues to be unable to deliver the 787s we have on order, including as many as 13 aircraft that were slated to be in our fleet by this winter,” said Vasu Raja, American’s chief revenue officer in a memo to staff.

“Without these widebodies, we simply won’t be able to fly as much internationally as we had planned next summer or as we did in summer 2019.”

American Airlines only resumed operations to Australia in January, after temporarily suspending flights Down Under due to the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent travel restrictions.

In early February, the carrier entered into an agreement with Boeing to rearrange previous aircraft purchases, now inking a deal for 30 737 MAX jets to replace the deferred Dreamliners.

Additionally, American and Boeing agreed to defer the delivery of certain Dreamliner aircraft that were originally scheduled for January 2023, now seeing these commence in the fourth quarter of that year until 2027.


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