American Upgrading its Boeing 757s

Fort Worth-based American Airlines Inc. said Tuesday that it will begin upgrading its 124 Boeing 757-200 airplanes in 2008 with new seats and interiors and entertainment systems.

The narrow-body planes will also eliminate a coat closet to make room for two additional seats in the first-class cabin, increasing capacity from 22 to 24 passengers.

The average age of American's Boeing 757 fleet was 12.2 years as of March 31.

American flies its Boeing 757s from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on about 43 daily departures to Puerto Rico, Latin America and several domestic destinations, including Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Most of American's more than 500 daily departures from D/FW use the narrow-body MD-80 airplanes. That doesn't include about 300 daily departures by American Eagle.

American is also upgrading its Boeing 777 and Boeing 767-300 and 767-200 fleets. In total, an airline spokesman said, if accelerated orders for 47 Boeing 737 jets are included, nearly half of the carrier's fleet will have been upgraded by 2009.

A spokesman declined to say how much American is spending on the new interiors but said it would spend $500 million between 2005 and 2009 on all of its upgrades.

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