American Airlines revamps widebody fleet

American Airlines is planning an investment of several hundred million dollars to revamp of its international fleet of widebody aircraft.

Fully lie-flat business class seats, all with aisle access, will be installed on Boeing 777-200ERs and 767-300s.

American’s entire fleet of 777-200ERs will be redesigned to a two-class cabin configuration to “better match capacity and demand”.

The carrier, still operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, will also offer international Wi-Fi, in-seat entertainment and ‘Main Cabin Extra’ seating offering more legroom on its 777-200ERs.

The 777s will each have up to 45 new business class seats and a walk-up bar.

American intends to retrofit up to half of its existing 767-300ER aircraft with 28 lie flat business class seats.

The remaining aircraft that are not redesigned will be retired over time, the airline said.

The retrofitted 767-300ERs will also feature 14 Main Cabin Extra seats with four to six inches more legroom than a standard Main Cabin seat. The Main Cabin of the retrofitted 767-300ERs will have 167 seats.

The redesign is expected to begin in early 2014.

American is also due to take delivery of 10 777-300ERs from the end of the year into 2013. They will be configured as three-class aircraft and include fully lie-flat First and Business Class seats, Main Cabin Extra, and Wi-Fi capability.

Chief commercial officer Virasb Vahidi said: “This redesign will comprehensively improve our future international widebody experience through fully lie-flat all-aisle access seats, inflight entertainment and Wi-Fi, and will place our product among the industry leaders.

“This is something our people are excited to see as we work toward a new and modern American Airlines.

“Our decision to invest in our international widebody aircraft demonstrates significant forward progress, consistent with our plan, and paints a picture of the future for our customers and people.”

He added: “American will be among the first in the industry to offer the combination of fully lie-flat seats with all-aisle access, international Wi-Fi, and top-of-the-line in-seat entertainment.”

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