American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) is planning to add second-hand A319-100s to increase its small narrowbody fleet rather than ordering new aircraft in the near future, Vice-President (Planning) Vasu Raja told employees in an internal newsletter.

"We are the largest operator of the A319 in the world. As there are more and more of this kind of planes [i.e. small narrowbodies] that come online it effectively lowers the market value of the A319s at a time when so many A319s are aging out of their initial lease terms... That creates a unique opportunity for us where our decision isn’t necessarily to go buy a brand new small narrowbody, we can still be players in the used narrowbody space," Raja said in the letter, as quoted by an aviation blog View from the Wing.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, American Airlines currently operates 133 A319-100s. The aircraft are 15.5 years old on average, although their individual age ranges from 4.3 to 21 years. American Airlines' A319s are equipped with 128 passenger seats. As such, the Airbus jets are in the same market segment as A220s, which the carrier has, for now, shunned.

"We are looking at being able to fly all of our aircraft a lot longer, because that’s a really wise capital thing to do, but we’re also being very opportunistic about how we think about that small narrowbody fleet in the future," Raja added.

Separately, the carrier has become the second US-based company after Carnival Cruise Lines to be sued under the 1996 Helms-Burton Act, an American law allowing US citizens to seek damages from US firms for using property that was nationalised in Cuba after the 1959 Communist Revolution, has reported.

Plaintiff Jose Ramon López Regueiro, the sole heir of the former owner of Havana Int'l airport José López Vilaboy, is seeking damages from both American Airlines and LATAM Airlines Group for operating to the Cuban gateway, which was expropriated in 1959. The amount of damages sought has not been disclosed.

American Airlines said in a statement that its flights to Cuba are authorised by the US government and claimed that lawful travel is explicitly exempt from the Helms-Burton Act. The carrier said it will "vigorously" defend its services to Cuba.

According to the ch-aviation schedules module, American Airlines currently operates 6x daily between Miami Int'l and Havana. For its part, LATAM Airlines Perú connects Lima Int'l and Havana 7x weekly.

The Helms-Burton Act was passed in 1996 but subsequently remained suspended until May 2019 when President Donald Trump activated the law for the first time ever.