American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) will accelerate the retirement of four regional jets to before June 2020, understood to be E140s, to remain in compliance with the terms of a scope clause agreement with pilots, The Points Guy blog has reported.

"We'll comply with our agreement with pilots. To do that, we are making minimal regional fleet adjustments, including retiring up to four regional aircraft a few months early," spokesperson Andrea Koos said.

The carrier's scope clause agreement limits the number of regional jets operated under the American Eagle brand to 75% of the total number of narrowbodies operated by the mainline unit. Specifically, large regional jets seating between 66 and 76 passengers (CRJ900s, E170s, and E175s) are limited to 40% of the number of narrowbodies, while the remaining 35% are smaller aircraft.

Although the grounding of the B737 MAX is considered a "force majeure" allowing the airline to exceed the scope clause fleet size limits for up to 15 months, the lack of the type has begun affecting American's narrowbody fleet count which in turn is starting to impact on its regional jets plans.

It is understood that the extended grounding of the Boeing narrowbodies could force American to reduce the number of regional jets further to remain in compliance with the agreement.

According to the ch-aviation fleets module, American Airlines currently operates 772 narrowbody aircraft, which for its scope clause agreement also include E190s. The number includes twenty E190s, 133 A319-100s, forty-eight A320-200s, 219 A321-200s, fourteen A321-200neo, 304 B737-800s, and thirty-four B757-200s.

At the same time, the carrier's American Eagle fleet includes 630 aircraft (81.6% of the total number of narrowbodies), including 307 "large" regional jets seating over 66 passengers (39.7% of the total number of narrowbodies). Of the total 630, only 596 aircraft are active, bringing the ratio of active regional jets to narrowbodies down to 77%.

The carrier's fleet of sub-66-seat regional jets entails thirty-four CRJ200s, 126 CRJ700s, forty-five E140s, and 118 E145s. The E140s are exclusively operated by Envoy Air (MQ, Dallas/Fort Worth) and owned by American Airlines.