American Improves Fleet With Used Airbus A319s from Frontier

Six months ago I reported that American Airlines was in the market for used Airbus A319s. At the end of February airline President Robert Isom told employees,

[W]e had some questions about 319s and potentially going out on the used market to get 319s to bring in to facilitate going faster, we’re doing that. Hang on with us.

…Newer model used aircraft are absolutely something we have an eye out for. As we take a look at where 319s are available we’re gonna be out there after them, because we want ’em” …they’re a little bit larger than we need in terms of total seating capacity but when you take a look at the operating economics, when you put it into our fleet, it works really well.

American Airlines Airbus A319

There was a rumor at the time that American would pick up these narrowbody aircraft from Frontier Airlines but then time passed and nothing happened.

Now it seems that American Airlines is receiving its first ex-Frontier A319, registration N922FR. It’s being transferred to American.

The aircraft was flown from Tampa to Goodyear, Arizona on Thursday.

This is the first of 3 used A319s leased by American. No doubt this plane will debut for American in standard configuration with just 8 first class seats, 8 forward rows of extra legroom coach (plus the exit row), and 128 total seats and – unlike the legacy American Airlines A319s — no seat back video.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. the A319 is a good airplane and those S80s need to be replaced by Anything Bigger than a Regional Jet. I like the 319 and 321 but hope they get rid of those
    Miserable 320s…. too many horror stories to Retell and I know their FAs hate them as well.

  2. I’m not sure why anyone would describe ex-F9 planes as “junk” other than from a place of contempt for Frontier. The operations maintenance challenge Frontier has had with these planes isn’t a problem with the planes or their maintenance procedures. It’s with F9’s aggressive utilization and weird schedules, which magnify any maintenance problems.

  3. While I prefer the A321s it’s not likely a bad choice overall in the used market, just guessing. I like the quote “they’re a little bit larger than we need in terms of total seating capacity “. Does that translate to putting 8 across seating on the A319s or just in general size of plane 🙂 If these are to replace MD-80’s then the seating configuration matches almost exactly depending on seat pitch. Both OEM max config at about 156 seats.

  4. What does it say about AA that one of the “world’s top travel experts” says that adding used A319s previously used by Frontier is an improvement to AA’s fleet?

  5. How is this an improvement? Most likely they will be replacing md80’s which have 16 first class seats and only 2 seats on the left side of the plane….

  6. AA 319s hold 128…. 8/120, and the Aircraft coming from Frontier will be reconfigured from a higher density seating. whereas Legacy US had 12FC, the newer AA birds came with 8 …. acceptable for a Smaller Mainline Aircraft. The Days Of 16FC seats on narrowbody fleets will be limited to Bigger Aircraft and People willing to Pay to Sit Up Front. upgrades do Not Pay the Bills and the Airlines Know ‘Just How Loyal’ the average Customer Is in 2018, so Bigger FC Cabins That Do Not generate the revenue are being Cut. No one has to Like it but let’s Stay realistic…. They need to be Profitable. (I prefer a Smaller Cabin and fewer Upgraders that Expect the World On someone else’s dime)

  7. This is good news. An A319 flown by F9 and AA are identical mechanically identical and still new. AA will do a fine job with them. The refit LUS planes are great, power, MCE and with the satellite WIFI even better then the IFE on the LAA planes, so after having their cabins updated you won’t be able to tell they were formerly flown by F9.

    PHX will likely see a lot of them so the more the merrier!

  8. Frontier poorly maintained those planes and now AA is buying that junk. What is AA’s management thinking?? That’s like buying a used car from an insurance company who salvaged the car after an accident because the original owner didn’t want the car back. If I was on an AA flight and saw the plane was an old Frontier aircraft I would get off. If Frontier doesn’t want them they must really be worthless..

  9. @mark, I love your made up stories. Also love that you are a plane expert smarter than those employed by AA. Lastly, if you knew it was a Frontier plane walk off? Hilarious!

    Airlines, including Delta and United, but used planes.

  10. Roger-do you understand how the upgrade system works? How much business & revenue AA gets in exchange for the status that, on paper, provides those upgrades? Who’s ‘dime’ do you think those upgrades are on? They aren’t free, though I’m sure that’s how Doug Parker et al view them. Loyalty is a 2-way street. As I’ve told all of executive office reps who have called me this summer wanting to know why my ‘travel was down’, AA doesn’t give me many reasons anymore TO fly them but is giving me lots of reasons NOT to.

  11. @Sun Viking 82 – it’s crazy to claim that the LUS A319s without seat back video are better than the LAA A319s that have it, and by the way the LAA F seats are far better too…

  12. What’s happening in Goodyear? Does AA have a refit facility there? A flight from there to PHX is all of 3 minutes, so interesting choice to me. I wasn’t aware of any big retrofit facility at GYR for AA (or for Cactus).


    • In February 2012, Dean Baldwin Painting added the capability to repaint aircraft at the Goodyear, Arizona airport. At this location airlines have the option to paint in conjunction with maintenance provided by the on-site MRO. The facility can accommodate regional through B767/ MD11 size aircraft.

  14. Why doesn’t Frontier need the planes? Less demand or end oflease with higher lease cost? How many total flight hours on these planes?

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