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American Airlines’ newest jet to start Phoenix route in April

(American Airlines Photo)

PHOENIX – American Airlines’ latest fleet addition will begin flying from Phoenix beginning in April, the company said this week.

The A321neo landed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, last Friday, the company said in a press release posted Monday, after a long flight from the Airbus plant in Germany.

Service from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, one of the airline’s 10 U.S. hubs, to Orlando International, was scheduled to begin April 2.

More routes from the Valley on the new jets were to begin over the next year. Alaska’s Anchorage Airport will be the second destination in the summer and Los Angeles and Hawaii will be added before the end of 2019.

The aircraft, which is replacing the retiring Boeing 757s, can seat 196 passengers and boasts satellite Wi-Fi.

The airline ordered 100 of the jets in 2011, the company said.

American said in late January that it earned a fourth-quarter profit of $319 million, slightly higher than analysts expected, as strong travel demand helped the carrier overcome higher fuel prices.

American finished at or near the bottom among the biggest U.S. airlines in recent surveys and rankings from JD Power, the Wall Street Journal, and academics at Wichita State and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Apparently, American’s own customer surveys said the same thing.

“We weren’t pleased with our ‘likely-to-recommend’ scores,” Robert Isom, the airline’s president, said at the time.

“They fell, year over year, for the first time in a number of years.”

Isom pledged that American will make an effort to improve reliability — fewer delays and canceled flights — which he said could quickly lift customers’ attitude about the airline.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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