American Airlines on Thursday said it will scale back its international flying next summer because of lengthy delivery delays of Boeing‘s 787 Dreamliners and that the manufacturer plans to compensate the carrier.
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 Dreamliner 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.
American planned to bring back 89% of its 2019 international long-haul flying next summer, but has trimmed that back to about 80%.
“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.”
Raja wrote that Boeing “has advised us that they will compensate American for their inability to deliver the aircraft.”
American won’t serve Edinburgh, Scotland or Shannon, Ireland. Soft demand in Asia led it to discontinue Hong Kong service, it said.
American also won’t bring back flights to Prague and Dubrovnik, Croatia. The airline will temporarily reduce frequencies to Shanghai, Beijing and Sydney. Aviation executives expect trans-Pacific travel demand to be the slowest to return after the pandemic. American also plans to add nonstop service between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Doha in June.
“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 about 2% in late-morning trading, while American’s were off less than 1%, along with other airline stocks.