One of the first projects new (US Airways) management undertook at American Airlines after the merger was to add seats to many domestic aircraft. Here’s the plan they put in place three years ago:
Many of the MD80s are now retired, and more are being retired. They added seats for the short term. And when they retrofit US Airways Airbus A319s to have sew seats and extra legroom seating, they reduced the first class cabin and added more seats overall to the aircraft.
But presumably because the US Airways fleet still hasn’t been substantially updated to offer a consistent product across the airline, they see plenty of room to add even more seats to planes.
On yesterday’s earnings call American Airlines President Robert Isom declared they were going to add even more seats to planes.
We think that we have some density issues with our narrow body fleet that we will be addressing in the coming years as well that I think will have benefits in terms of overall revenue production and also will help us from a unit cost perspective as well.
…I think that as I said, we have narrow-body density opportunities as well to pursue.
“Density opportunities” mean squeezing in more seats. This has “benefits in terms of overall revenue production” meaning that they’ll have more seats to sell. And it will help “from a unit cost perspective” because the total cost of a flight is divided across more seats. I love euphemisms.
In February I noted a rumor of American adding seats to its legacy US Airways Airbus A321s so I assume this is the primary fleet that will see ‘densification’.