American Airlines is one of the world’s oldest airlines that operates from its headquarter in Dallas/Fort Worth International. It also stands as the world’s largest carrier in terms of fleet size — comprising 964 aircraft. It flies to 60 countries globally, carrying over 40 million passengers each year.
It all began in the early 1930s when an amalgamation of 82 smaller airlines resulted in the formation of American Airways. This group initially operated only mail routes to 72 US cities, in the midwest, southeast and northeast region.
This continued until E.L. Cord became the airlines’ new owner. He firstly renamed it to American Air Lines (in 1934) and appointed C.R. Smith for running the affairs of the company. Under his leadership, began American’s journey of passenger air travel, as it became the first airline to fly the DC-3 between New York and Chicago, in June 1934.
From there, it grew its operations and opened subsidiaries to serve Europe and Mexico. Until a change in headquarter to Dallas/Fort Worth in 1979, American airlines expanded its transcontinental routes with its Boeing 707s; meanwhile using repurposed Boeing 707s and 747s to run cargo flights under the American Freighter network. It is also important to note that American survived the deregulation era that put many airlines in the US out of business.
All throughout the 80s, the airline opened many new hubs across several states, also expanding its reach with transatlantic flights to London.
Fleet and Market share
The American carrier employs a mix of Boeing, Airbus and Embraer aircraft for its mainline and regional routes. Since 2013, it has constantly enrolled newer aircraft, keeping its fleet up-to-date. Impressively, the average fleet age is just 10.7 years; less than any other US carrier.
As of 2020, it has ordered a total of 248 aircraft (due for delivery 2025 or later) from manufacturers. They include the newer A320neo family, Boeing’s 737 MAXs and 787s, and also Embraer’s medium-haul E-175.
American’s massive fleet also means that it serves most US passengers for both domestic and international flights. Till last year, it maintained the largest domestic market share at 17.6%, followed by Delta Airlines.
Like many airlines, American has also taken a drastic hit from the coronavirus. The financial woes of the company carry on as it burns through $70 million of cash reserves every day.
The airline also announced, recently, enhanced cleaning methods for its aircraft and distribution of PPEs for customers travelling on repatriation flights, as part of measures taken to combat the spread. It has also mandated face masks for passengers, effective from May 11.
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