The agreement between American Airlines, US Airways, the US Department of Justice and the states suing to block the merger to settle their lawsuits clears the way for AA-US to merge.
This has implications for the Big Four airframe and the engine manufacturers who have been living in some uncertainty. Here’s the rundown:
American and US Airways have large orders with Airbus: American for the A320ceo and neo family and US Airways for the A320ceo family and A350-800/900.
American is taking delivery of the A319ceo and A321ceo. The neo comes several years into the future. American has been taking a large number of A319s, while US Airways have been up-gauging its Airbus single aisle orders, passing on the A319 in favor of the A320ceo or A321ceo. US Airways management, which will take over the New American Airlines, may elect to change the mix within the 18 month lead time limitations.
The more interesting question is what US Airways will do with its A350-800 order. US Airways, along with Hawaiian Airlines, is now the largest customer for the -800. Airbus has been shifting customers from the -800 to the -900 and the -1000, in part to de-risk the program and in part because the larger models are more profitable for Airbus. But some customers elected to switch because the economics of the larger capacity -900 are better than the smaller -800 while operating costs are about the same.
Now that AA and US will combined, the -800 seems surplus when the large order held by American for the Boeing 787-8/9 is considered. The US Airways management could elect to drop the -800 in favor of the 787. Such would unlikely be a total loss for Airbus, however: New American would likely up-gauge to the A350-900 or even the A350-1000, or order more A320neos to keep Airbus “whole.”
US Airways hasn’t ordered a Boeing airplane since the days of the 737 Classic or 757/767, and the current management has been retiring all of them as fast as they could. Now they’re solidly back in Boeing territory. “Old” American has a large order of 737NGs and 737 MAXes in addition to the 787 orders. Old American is only taking the 737-800 and the New American will continue this type and probably select only the 737-8 MAX to fulfill that commitment. But we don’t look for any burst of new orders.