American Airlines trims 2022 international flights due to Boeing Dreamliner delay

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American Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft.
Nicolas Economou | NurPhoto | Getty Images

American Airlines on Thursday said it will scale back its international flying next summer because of lengthy delivery delays of Boeing‘s 787 Dreamliners.

Deliveries of Boeing’s wide-body Dreamliners to customers have been paused for much of the past year as the manufacturer and federal regulators review a series of production flaws and needed fixes. The delays come just as big customers like American and rival United Airlines gear up for what they expect to be a big summer for international travel after a two-year pandemic slump.

“This weekend we will load our summer 2022 long-haul schedule, but it will not have the growth we initially expected,” Vasu Raja, American’s chief revenue officer wrote in a memo to staff, which was included in an company securities filing. “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. 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.”

“In addition, Boeing has advised us that they will compensate American for their inability to deliver the aircraft,” Raja wrote in the memo.

American won’t serve Edinburgh, Scotland; Shannon, Ireland; or Hong Kong next summer because of a “lack of widebody aircraft.” It also won’t bring back flights to Prague and Dubrovnik, Croatia. The airline will temporarily cut frequencies to Shanghai, Beijing and Sydney. Aviation executives expect trans-Pacific travel demand to be the slowest to return after the pandemic. American Airlines didn’t immediately comment on whether demand forecasts played into its reduced service plans.

“We deeply regret the impact to our customers as we work through the process to resume deliveries of new 787s,” Boeing said in a statement. “We will take the time needed to ensure conformance to our exacting specifications. While this has near-term impacts, we are confident this is the right approach to drive stability and first-time quality across our operations and position the program for the long term.

The FAA didn’t immediately comment.

United Airlines didn’t say how the delays could affect its international flying next year but said it is working with Boeing “to understand how the delivery delays may affect our schedule.”

Boeing shares were down more than 2% in late-morning trading, while American’s were off more than 1%, along with other airline stocks.

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