American Airlines eyes Airbus A321XLR to retire its Boeing 757-200 fleet

Fort Worth, Texas - American Airlines is looking at the Airbus's new long-range single-aisle jet to replace its aging Boeing 757-200 fleet.

American sees the Airbus's new A321XLR program as an opportunity to replace its 34 older Boeing 757-200 jets in the fleet, according to Bloomberg who attributes the news to an anonymous source.

American Airlines is the world’s largest airline. Its aircraft choice for the middle of the market is very important for both Airbus and Boeing since they compete with each other to develop a new mid-range aircraft.

Airbus gears up to introduce the largest single-aisle jet ever as its new mid-range plane (A321XLR) while Boeing plans to come up with the smallest wide-body ever (B797) for the same segment.

Airbus is expected to announce its A321XLR program at the Paris Air Show later this month. Boeing was being expected to do the same, but the company delayed its decision to 2020 as to whether to launch its long-discussed NMA (New Midsize Airplane) program.

Airbus and American Airlines did not confirm the rumor. The airline still has around 100 Airbus A320 family aircraft on order with the European aircraft manufacturer.

Indian low-cost IndiGo, International Airlines Group (IAG), JetBlue Airways are among the airlines that have already expressed interest in the A321XLR.

The Airbus A321XLR is not expected to enter into service before 2023 or 2024 due to production constraints. If some of the existing A320neo orders are converted to the A321XLR by customers, the aircraft would make its commercial debut earlier than expected, the manufacturer says.

Airbus's A321XLR will be based on A321neo like the A321LR. Boeing will develop the 797 from scratch, but the final decision whether to launch the program is on hold as the manufacturer currently focuses on the 737 MAX crisis.

If launched, Boeing's NMA is expected to be available around 2025.

In 2011, American Airlines shocked Boeing with a huge Airbus A320 order at the Paris Air Show, which led the American aircraft manufacturer to drop its plans for an all-new single-aisle jet. Boeing built a simpler upgrade with new engines instead, which became the 737 MAX.