American Airlines plans to add more seats to its Boeing 737 and MD-80 fleets, according to a government filing made on Wednesday.
Vice president of flight services, Lauri Curtis, outlined the news in a letter sent to employees, saying the carrier hasn't determined yet how many seats it will add.
"On Tuesday, at a DFW Town Hall meeting with the newly announced Leadership Team for the new American, there was discussion about a decision to add seats to the MD-80 and 737 fleets and I wanted to share a recap of that with all of you. As you probably know, we are constantly taking a look at what our operation needs, and that includes how our fleet is configured. And sometimes, we make adjustments when we think it helps match supply to demand but can still be competitive. So from where we stand today, we expect to add seats to the 737 and MD-80 fleets, but we haven’t yet determined the right number of seats, and as a result, the impact on revenue and cost.
"Of course we are talking about adding seats and that automatically means the additional FA on a 737 regardless of the number of seats added. This will allow us to provide a higher level of onboard service while meeting the FAA staffing requirements. While this would obviously be good news for all of us, we are still working through the specific details and timing. So stay tuned! I’ll keep you posted!"
American's current 737 aircraft have 148 or 150 seats and it operates 195 of that aircraft type. The carrier also has 190 MD-80s, although it has been retiring those planes at it receives newer Boeing 737s and plans to add Airbus A319s to the fleet later this year.
Southwest Airlines has been squeezing six more seats into its Boeing 737s as part of its interior remodeling of the cabins that started in 2012. Its renovated 737s now have 143 seats.