July 23, 2013

American Airlines' first A319

Today, just over two years after announcing a monumental order for 260 Airbus series aircraft, American Airlines took delivery of its first Airbus A319. The delivery process is an interesting formal dance between the manufacturer and an airline, which involves extensive ground and flight acceptance testing and hopefully, demonstrates the aircraft meets or exceeds all specifications. You might think of this three to five day process as a test drive on steroids. To start, American Airlines provides subject matter experts from Flight, Tulsa Test, Flight Service, and Maintenance to ensure that the aircraft is flawless upon delivery. A small contingent of Tulsa Test and Flight Ops pilots have either already departed for, or will depart to Hamburg, Germany, shortly to participate in this process. At the end of the acceptance process, funds and title are transferred.


After transfer of title, the first aircraft will be ferried back across the North Atlantic with a one day, two leg profile. The first leg involves an eight hour flight from Hamburg to Bangor, Maine, where the aircraft is refueled and customs is cleared. The second leg of the journey will be a four hour flight from Bangor to DFW. Upon arrival at DFW, the aircraft will begin installation of final items, such as a Gogo WiFi system, placards and various warning/caution stickers. Final installations are then followed by FAA-required ground and flight demonstrations to ensure that American is prepared to operate the aircraft in revenue service. FAA ground demonstrations include a simulated ditching exercise and a mini evacuation. During these ground demonstrations, flight crew — pilots and flight attendants — must demonstrate that they have been properly trained to safely conduct a simulated ditching and separately, a simulated ground evacuation.

Next, the A319 will be used to provide actual flight time for Check Airmen and line pilots to meet pilot IOE time requirements.  The A319 will visit stations that it will initially serve so that ground crews and gate agents can familiarize themselves with the new fleet. American will then be required to conduct proving flight demonstrations with the FAA onboard, which are representative of flying that will be conducted during actual revenue service. During these flights, the FAA will introduce simulated aircraft and medical emergency scenarios. The entire flight crew must demonstrate that they can bring the scenario to a successful conclusion, including a diversion to an alternate airport if necessary. All aspects of support, which includes Dispatch and Ground Station personnel, are exercised and must be capable of providing necessary provisions for the aircraft, passengers and crew.


The final phase prior to entry into service (EIS) involves additional flight time on the aircraft for CKA and line pilots. The first revenue flight for the A319 is scheduled for Sept. 16, 2013. Below is a preliminary list of the stations that will be supported by the A319.


14 comments:

  1. Welcome to the Airbus era! Easy to push and load!

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  2. This is almost sad in a way. And the airplane isn't a looker at all. Thanks for the insight on the process though Brad. As usual you provided just the right amount of detail.

    Justin

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  3. I personally think the A319 looks kinda cool in the New American livery... and I love the sharklets! I've always been more of a Boeing fan, but have been starting to like the updated look of the A319/320/321 class aircraft

    I hadn't ever considered the amount of work it takes for an airline to add new aircraft to it's fleet... it's amazing to see the amount of work put into it!

    Still haven't seen the new American livery! I'm hoping that I might see it next week sometime. Starting Monday I'm flying RIC-ATL-LAS-SLC-RNO-SLC-ATL-RIC (on Delta). Maybe I'll see the livery at one of those airports.

    Thanks for the post,
    -Swayne

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    1. Just by the hubs we knew that was a Delta itinerary.

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    2. Hi Swayne,

      I flew through your neck of the woods last night. Snapped a picture of Richmond during my descent into Baltimore where I spent the night. Nice night to fly...clear and smooth.

      Enjoy your trip. That is a circuitous route to say the least! I don't know when you're coming home, but I'll be in Vegas on the 3rd. Maybe we'll cross paths.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Brad

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  4. I have mixed feelings on the introduction of the Airbus type into the fleet - I think it does look nice in the new livery, but, I guess I just think that since the departure of the A306 and the Fokker's from the fleet, AA has been a US manufacturer stronghold. Does this say now that the Airbus A31x/A32x family is better than the B73x family? I personally wish AA had stuck with Boeing - but - I'm sure there is a lot of conversation on that vein in many other forums.

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    1. Do remember that AA still has orders placed for 100 737 MAX jets and 90 unfilled 737-800NG orders. I think it looks like they are pretty clearly splitting the fleet.

      The thing is, with the addition of US Airways, there will be many more A320 class aircraft added.

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    2. Mark i was confused by this as well and had the same questions. However Swayne is right maybe it was influenced by the merger?

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    3. I remember that now Swayne - I had forgotten about that - thanks for reminding me!!!

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    4. It's true that AA is splitting the fleet. When they initially started talking with both companies, I assumed they were only using a threat to buy Airbus as a negotiating ploy to get a lower price from Boeing. I was surprised to see the Airbus announcement. The story from AA is that neither company could supply the volume needed to fill the void left by retiring MD80s and Boeing 757s...both of which I'm sorry to see in the bone yard. At any rate, the bus is here. I saw the first one parked at the hangar at DFW yesterday.

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  5. Now, that's confusing--the sharklets make me think 737! Gonna take some getting used to. No doubt it's a more efficient design though. Enjoy the 319...I don't wanna move off my Airbus! ;-)

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    1. I'm not sure if you have any sharklets on order for existing jets - be interested to her your impressions of any differences when you do get to fly one...

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    2. I'm happy with my Boeing, but I'd like to fly the Airbus some day. Maybe it will be my first captain job!

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  6. The A319 looks great with the winglets, the AA livery suits it nicely too.

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