Fort Worth-based US legacy carrier and oneworld founding member American Airlines is very loyal to Boeing’s widebody families. Indeed, its present long-haul fleet consists entirely of models from the 777 and 787 ‘Dreamliner’ ranges. However, it has also previously flown aircraft from the smaller 767 family. Let’s take a look at which variants of this dual-aisle twinjet American flew, and where the aircraft ended up after their time at the airline ended.
American retired its last 767s last year. Photo: Getty Images
According to ch-aviation.com, American Airlines’ least numerous variant of the 767 was the 767-200, the family’s original model. The carrier flew 12 of these aircraft, with the first pair arriving in November 1982, and another the following month. This was the same year that it entered service with fellow US legacy carrier United Airlines (that September).
1983 was a busy year for 767-200 deliveries at American, with five coming onboard between March and November. The remaining four aircraft joined the airline with an equal two-two split between 1984 (both in June) and 1985 (one in February, one in April).
All of American’s 767-200s served the airline for around two decades, with their departures from the fleet occurring in the 2000s. The vast majority (nine aircraft) left the airline in 2003, with the others departing in 2006, 2008, and 2009 (one each). Sadly, many were scrapped, although some went on to see service at ABX Air and Air Transport International.
American’s 767 operations date back to the early 1980s. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr
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Soon after the original 767-200’s launch in 1982, Boeing introduced the extended range 767-200ER. This entered service with El Al in 1984, and American eventually operated 18 examples of the type, per ch-aviation. It received these during the mid to late-1980s, in the following years: 1985 (three), 1986 (seven), 1987 (seven), and 1988 (one).
Just three of American’s 767-200ERs left the fleet in the 2000s, with the first (N334AA) tragically being involved in the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The other pair left in 2006 (N330AA, also written off after an engine fire) and 2008. The rest departed in the 2010s, with N319AA operating the final 767-200ER flight from Los Angeles to New York in May 2014.
American’s last 767-200ER-operated flight took place in May 2014. Photo: BriYYZ via Flickr
Many of the extended range 767-200ERs suffered the same fate as their standard 767-200 counterparts, and were scrapped. Their scrappings occurred either directly after leaving American, or having spent time at lessors like Jet Midwest Group and KMW Leasing. However, some did then fly for cargo carriers in the US, Canada, and even Malaysia.
The Boeing 767-300ER was an extended range derivative of the 767-300, which was the family’s first fuselage stretch. This made the aircraft more than six meters longer than the original 767-200. American was this variant’s launch customer in 1988, and it went on to be by far the most numerous 767 variant at the airline. All in all, it operated 67 examples.
American made the most of being the 767-300ER’s launch customer by receiving 15 examples in 1988. Deliveries slowed down after this, but continued steadily until the 67th and final example arrived in 2003. December 2001 saw a particular boom in the size of American’s 767-300ER fleet when Trans World Airlines (TWA) was merged into the company.
American launched the 767-300ER back in 1988. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying
The recently acquired ex-TWA aircraft then departed American rather soon, in 2002 and 2003, for carriers including Air China and Icelandair. The carrier’s remaining 767-300ERs stayed with the airline for much longer, with 2015 seeing the next departures.
American announced in mid-March 2020 that it would be retiring its remaining 767-300ERs by May that year. As it happened, the plane’s last revenue-earning flight with the airline took place on March 30th, 2020. Amid the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the downturn in demand provided American with an opportunity to expedite the type’s retirement.
Did you ever fly on one of American Airlines’ Boeing 767s? If so, which variant(s), and where did it/they take you? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!
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