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April 08, 2014

American changes Airbus orders to options, also chooses to buy instead of finance new aircraft

American Airlines is changing 30 firm orders for 30 Airbus A320 NEO aircraft into options, according to an investor update filed on Tuesday morning.

The aircraft were scheduled to be delivered in 2021 and 2022 and were part of the company's large order of 260 Airbus narrow-body aircraft announced in 2011.

The carrier also said it has terminated its existing lease financing arrangements for 62 Airbus A320 that American is scheduled to receive between 2015 and 2017 and instead will the purchase the aircraft.

This year, American expects to receive 83 mainline aircraft and retire 80 older, less fuel-efficient planes. By the end of 2014, American said it estimates it will have 973 aircraft in its fleet, only three more than 2013.

For its regional subsidiaries, American said it will receive 15 CRJ-900 aircraft for PSA Airlines. An additional 4 CRJ-900s and 24 Embraer 175 aircraft will also be delivered but American has not yet determined which regional partner will fly those jets.

Recently, American Eagle pilots turned down a contract that would have guaranteed larger regional jets would be operated by Eagle in exchange for concessions. Without a new contract, American management has said it plans to shrink Eagle's operations and in the investor update said it will retire 40 Embraer 140 aircraft, which are operated by Eagle.

-Andrea Ahles

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