American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) is considering all options insofar as the future of its twice deferred order for twenty-two A350-900s is concerned.

According to Bloomberg, sources have confirmed the airline is in talks with Airbus (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) over the order which was placed in 2005 by US Airways (Phoenix Sky Harbor). Among the options American Airlines is exploring include adding to the order, downsizing to a smaller Airbus wide-body such as the A330, deferring delivery again, or canceling outright.

American's initial deferral of the order came in July 2016 when deliveries were put back by an average of 26 months, thus saving the carrier approximately USD1.2 billion in payments. The second deferral took place in April this year and has seen the aircraft's delivery pushed back by an average of 24 months, setting delivery of the first A350 in 2020 instead of 2018.

Bloomberg adds that AA president Robert Isom reportedly told pilots at a question-and-answer session last month that the issue with the order is its relatively small size in comparison to the rest of American's fleet.

“I don’t like small fleets in an airline our size,” he said. “It’s exceptional pricing. Unfortunately, pricing is just one aspect of trying to fly something profitably.”

Citing weak longhaul demand, other US carriers that have deferred their respective widebody orders for Airbus and Boeing alike include United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare) and Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson).

United last week converted its order from A350-1000s to smaller -900s while pushing their arrivals back to late 2022 at the earliest. Of the Big 3 legacy carriers, only Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) has thus far taken delivery of any of its A350 orders despite deferring them by as many as three years back in May. At present, it has two A350-900s in service.