American Airlines has announced a reduction in its international schedule for next summer due to delivery delays for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners. American says it will operate about 80 percent of its 2019 international long-haul flights next summer. Originally, the carrier had planned to restore 89 percent of its international services.
Among the cuts, the airline says it won’t serve Edinburgh, Scotland, or Shannon, Ireland, this summer. Prague and Dubrovnik, Croatia have also been cut. In addition, frequencies to Shanghai, Beijing and Sydney have also been reduced.
Deliveries of new 787s have been slowed over much of the past year, as the airplane maker and the Federal Aviation Administration work to iron out issues around a series of production problems with the aircraft. The latest delays are reportedly pushing Dreamliner deliveries into first quarter 2022.
Boeing’s Dreamliner woes come as American is setting its sights on a summer rebound in international travel, meaning the airline was counting on the new widebody jetliners to add long-haul capacity.
“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,” wrote Vasu Raja, American’s chief revenue officer, in a staff memo. “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.”
However, Raja added, Boeing “will compensate American for their inability to deliver the aircraft.”
American is not the only carrier likely to be affected by the 787 slowdown. United, a long-time operator of the entire 787 family, has yet to announce any impact on its schedule from Boeing’s production problems.
And Lufthansa is already touting the Dreamliner on the rollout of its Frankfurt-Toronto service later this winter – provided the aircraft is available.
For its part, Boeing issued a statement saying, “We deeply regret the impact to our customers as we work through the process to resume deliveries of new 787s. 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.”