American Scraps Summer Flights to Scotland, Hong Kong After Boeing Fails to Deliver Planes

American Airlines is scaling back what was supposed to be an expanded summer flight schedule because Boeing was not being able to deliver its 787 jetliners.

According to a Thursday memo from American Chief Revenue Officer Vasu Raja to airline employees, the company was expecting 13 additional Boeing 787s, also called Dreamliners, by winter.

However, due to production issues such as faulty parts, Boeing had to slow its production and failed to deliver the planes.

American spokeswoman Andrea Koos said the airline had planned to operate at 89 percent of its 2019 schedule by the summer of 2022. Now, they are lowering the goal to about 80 percent.

Without the planes, the company "simply won't be able to fly as much internationally as we had planned next summer, or as we did in summer 2019," Raja said in the memo.

The memo added that American no longer will be able to fly to Edinburgh, Scotland; Shannon, Ireland; or Hong Kong. It will also have to cut flights they were planning to offer soon to destinations such as Shanghai and Sydney.

In an emailed statement, Boeing said it was working to fix its production issues.

"Our team is continuing comprehensive inspections and rework, as needed, on undelivered airplanes, while holding transparent discussions (with the Federal Aviation Administration)," the statement said.

American Airlines, Boeing 787
In an internal memo, an American Airlines official said it will have to drop some flights from its summer schedule due to Boeing failing to deliver 13 planes. Above, an American Airlines Boeing 787-9 takes off from Los Angeles International Airport on January 13, 2021. Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

The twin-aisle Boeing 787 jet is popular with airlines for long flights because of its improved fuel efficiency over older planes of similar size.

"Boeing has advised us that they will compensate American for their inability to deliver the aircraft," he added.

In the emailed statement, Chicago-based Boeing did not address compensation but said it regrets the impact of delayed deliveries on its airline customers.

Airline schedules have been upended by the pandemic, and that is particularly true of international flights because of changing rules around the world. The carriers, however, have been encouraged by the increase in traffic since the rollout of vaccines against COVID-19, and they were optimistic about next summer, believing that people who have been stuck at home are eager to travel again.

According to the memo, American won't bring back some destinations it served in 2019, including Prague. It will also delay starting new service including flights between Seattle and Bangalore, India.

American expects to resume a full schedule to Mexico, the Caribbean, Latin America, London, Dublin and Madrid, according to the memo.

This past summer, American used some two-aisle jets on flights within the U.S. and on short international flights. Next summer, however, all those so-called widebody planes will be used on long international routes "to minimize the damage these aircraft delivery delays have caused to our long-haul portfolio," Raja wrote in the memo, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Boeing has struggled with production flaws on 787s including tiny gaps between fuselage panels and improperly manufactured titanium parts. The issues have prevented Boeing from delivering planes that have rolled off assembly lines in South Carolina and Washington. As undelivered planes have stacked up, the aircraft maker has slowed production.

It is rare for disputes between aircraft manufacturers and airline customers to become public. Even during the long grounding of the Boeing 737 Max after two deadly crashes, American, Southwest and United were restrained in comments about the plane maker.

In another such unusual conflict, Boeing rival Airbus said Thursday that it will get an "independent legal assessment" in its dispute with a customer about surfaces on its A350 planes. Airbus, based in Toulouse, France, accused the airline of an "ongoing mischaracterization" of paint degradation that Europe's aviation regulator says does not affect safety.

Airbus said it regrets the need to hire lawyers, but "it has become necessary to defend its position and reputation."

Airbus did not identify the airline in a press release, but its description pointed to Qatar Airways, which grounded more than a dozen A350s this past summer, citing orders from Qatar's aviation regulator. The airline said the carbon-composite fuselages of the planes were "degrading at an accelerated rate."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

American Airlines, Boston, airport
American Airlines is dropping some international flights from its plans for next summer because Boeing failed to deliver planes that the airline ordered. Above, American Airlines passenger jets prepare for departure on July 21, 2021, near a terminal at Boston Logan International Airport. Steven Senne, File/AP Photo


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