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When Will American Airlines Retire The Boeing 777-200?

by Staff

American Airlines, which operates the second-largest fleet of the big three North American carriers, will eventually need to retire a workhorse. While other airlines like United operate a large fleet of 74 Boeing 777-200s and Delta retiring the aircraft type entirely, American Airlines currently operates 47 of the aircraft type.




American Airlines’ fleet is made up of the extended-range version. The airline had initially passed on ordering the standard -200, waiting for the extended-range 777-200ER. American started taking delivery of the type in 1999, and today its fleet of 777-200ERs averages 23 years old.

The retirement of the legendary twin-aisle aircraft type will be big news for the airline industry, potentially creating an opportunity to sell a replacement. Recently, there has been speculation on what aircraft type American Airlines could select, but the first question to answer would be: When is the airline actually going to retire the 777-200?

Photo: Tom Boon | Simple Flying


When asked, American Airlines declined to comment on its future plans for the type. Rumors about the retirement were previously published two years ago on Forbes, insinuating that the airline was examining replacing the aircraft type with the more modern and fuel-efficient 787. American currently has around 37 examples of the 787-8 and 22 of the 787-9 Dreamliner.

Despite taking delivery of the 787, the airline hasn’t made any progress in retirements. This isn’t surprising, given the number of retirements American Airlines made in 2020 when the airline retired five different types of aircraft, including the 767 and A330.


Rumors and fleet updates

According to reporting on View From The Wing, during an internal meeting in July 2023, the airline said it had no intention of retiring any more of its aircraft types until 2030. That report also hinted at American Airlines’ desire to place an order for narrowbody aircraft by 2027.


In October, Simple Flying reported that American was in talks with both Boeing and Airbus on a potential narrowbody order. At press time, there were rumors around this order, with speculation that it could come as early as March 4th during a call with investors.

An American Airlines Boeing 777-200ER about to land in Phoenix.

Photo: Robin Guess | Shutterstock

American Airlines’ 777-200ERs, for their part, are currently assigned on routes including Dallas (DFW)-London (LHR), New York (JFK)-Paris (CDG), Miami (MIA)-Madrid (MAD), as well as other transatlantic routes, based on an examination of the airline’s fleet on Flightradar24. Delta, which retired its 777-200ERs and 777-200LRs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, used to assign the aircraft on both transatlantic and transpacific routes.


When Delta Air Lines retired its fleet of aircraft, they averaged ten years old, but that was a mix of aircraft, including nine aircraft delivered between 2008 and 2010, seven aircraft delivered in 1999, and one delivered in 2002. Many of these planes have had interesting second lives since leaving Delta, including induction to Mammoth Freighters’ 777-200LRMF conversion program and even being chartered by the Arizona Cardinals.

On the other hand, American Airlines began receiving its 777 airliners in 1999 on a consistent delivery schedule in one large order, unlike Delta, which received its airframes from two different orders.

An American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER landing on a runway.

Photo: Edu Perez | Shutterstock


Other airlines that operate and continue to operate the 777-200 have retired aircraft of similar ages to American Airlines’ units. These carriers include Singapore Airlines, All Nippon Airways, and British Airways.

Often, airlines will consider not only the aircraft’s age but also factors like hours flown, take-off and landing cycles operated, cost to maintain the engines, and current market value before making their fleet decisions. American Airlines’ 777-200ERs are currently valued at an average of around $5.4 million each.

  • American Airlines Tile

    American Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    AA/AAL

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub(s):
    Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Miami International Airport, New York JFK Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

    Year Founded:
    1926

    Alliance:
    oneworld

    CEO:
    Robert Isom

    Country:
    United States

    Airline Group:
    American Airlines Group

    Region:
    North America

    Loyalty Program:
    AAdvantage

  • 787-8 Dreamliner

    Boeing

    Stock Code:
    BA

    Date Founded:
    1916-07-15

    CEO:
    Dave Calhoun

    Headquarters Location:
    Chicago, USA

    Key Product Lines:
    Boeing 737, Boeing 747, Boeing 757, Boeing 767, Boeing 777, Boeing 787

    Business Type:
    Planemaker

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