Hastily-Retired American Airlines Boeing 757 Being Shipped To China

Hastily-Retired American Airlines Boeing 757 Being Shipped To China

At the start of the global pandemic United Airlines decided to keep its options open on its fleet. No one had been more cautious about what Covid-19 would mean for travel than United. No one pulled down their operations faster to conserve cash. On March 10, 2020 – when other airline CEOs were talking up their awareness of the SARS-COV-2 virus, United’s Scott Kirby was planning for revenue to drop 70%. Yet United didn’t retire fleets of aircraft.

American Airlines, on the other hand, retired:

  • Boeing 757s
  • Boeing 767s
  • Airbus A330s
  • Embraer E-190s

Now, with Boeing behind in 787 deliveries, they haven’t had enough planes to fully rebuild their European network. They don’t have old, cheap planes that can fly long distances while experimenting with new routes. And the Airbus A321XLRs, narrowbody aircraft which will fly U.S. East Coast – Europe, are delayed as well and won’t arrive this year.

Many of those Boeing 767s went off to Amazon Air to work as cargo. Some of the 757s went to Northern Pacific (the startup which keeps changing its business model, and which has failed to see its cryptocurrency gain traction).

In late March American Airlines got much of its fleet on the ground for storage in a hurry. Boeing 757s, along with 777s, 787s, and 737s, went to Tulsa.

american planes parked in tulsa
Planes Parked in Tulsa, Credit: American Airlines

american airlines planes parked in tulsa
Planes Parked in Tulsa, Credit: American Airlines

Now one of those retired Boeing 757s – which eventually made it from Tulsa to the desert in Roswell, New Mexico – has been opened, as though it were a time capsule. It’s headed off to China for a cargo retrofit. And while the plane has been painted over to obscure its previous owner, the interior is completely preserved.

At 20 seconds into the video you see the 2020 APEX airline rating sticker still beside the boarding door. American Airlines became an APEX 5 Star Airline in late 2018.

Inside the Boeing 757 you see the old Collins Diamond business class seats. They lie flat, but the plane lacked direct aisle access for these seats. There were no seat back entertainment screens, either. There was still material in the seat back pockets!

Here’s more from the trip:

(HT: AirlineFlyer)

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