Could The World’s Largest Airline Become Even Larger?

  • American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner From Above

    American Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Miami International Airport, New York JFK Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

    Year Founded:


    Robert Isom

    United States

American Airlines’ CEO, Robert Isom, has expressed his desire for the airline to continue to grow. Speaking at the Cowen Global Transportation & Sustainable Mobility Conference on Wednesday, Isom said, “we actually have the assets in place to fly a much larger airline.

Like many other carriers, American Airlines is eager to take advantage of the sudden surge in demand for air travel following the pandemic. However, given the challenging summer that the airline faced, with staff shortages, delays, and cancellations, how realistic are these expectations in the short-term?


American Airlines’ CEO, Robert Isom, has expressed his desire for the airline to expand further. Photo: Vincenzo Pace Simple Flying

The current situation for American Airlines

American Airlines is still struggling with a shortage of pilots, leading it to ground around 150 aircraft in the second quarter of this year. Isom went on to talk about his desire to get these aircraft back in the skies as soon as possible, stating,

“We’d like to get the regional fleet back up as much as we can. We talked about having about 150 planes on the ground in the second quarter, and our goal is to get those flying as soon as we can.”

Isom also confirmed that American Airlines has already recruited around 20,000 new employees so far this year. However, the airline still has approximately 5,000 fewer workers than it did at this time in 2019. The staffing levels at airports across the US and worldwide is also still below where it needs to be to support any rapid growth.

As a result, the oneworld member continues to cut flights from its schedule – just last month, the airline announced a 16% reduction in planned flights for November.

American Airlines currently operates 42 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, with a further 88 on order. Photo: Vincenzo Pace Simple Flying.

American Airlines – the world’s largest airline

When it comes to appreciating the sheer scale of American Airlines, the numbers speak for themselves. Over 161 million passengers flew with the airline in 2021 (down from a pre-pandemic peak of over 200 million), and at the last count, more than 120,000 employees worked for the carrier worldwide.

American Airlines is well-known for being the world’s largest airline when it comes to fleet size too. The airline boasts a staggering 920 aircraft in its fleet, including 303 Boeing 737-800s and 218 Airbus A321s. Its long-haul flights are operated by the Boeing 777-200ER, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 787-8, and Boeing 787-9.

The airline recently revealed plans to remove its Flagship First cabin, bringing it in line with other US carriers. The first class product is currently offered on its Boeing 777-300ERs and select transcontinental Airbus A321 aircraft.

American Airlines recently announced plans to remove the Flagship First cabin from its Boeing 777-300ERs and transcontinental Airbus A321s. Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying

American Airlines also currently has 188 aircraft on order, including 50 game-changing Airbus A321XLRs, which are expected to be delivered from 2024. While some of these deliveries will be to replace older aircraft in the fleet, Isom evidently hopes that they will also be used to grow the airline further.

Isom’s wishes are clear. It remains to be seen, however, whether the desired growth will take place, and if so, how long it will take.

How do you see the next few years panning out for American Airlines? Do you expect to see the further growth that has been predicted by the airline’s CEO, Robert Isom? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

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