American Airlines spends $2 billion on airplane upgrades



American Airlines announced that it will spend $2 billion on new plane seats, in-flight entertainment, power outlets and other passenger amenities in an effort to shore up its amenities offerings.

According to Bloomberg, the move is largely fueled by competition from Delta, as American completes its merger with US Airways. The airline’s recent profits will pay for the upgrades, the carrier says.

“In 2014, the team accomplished great things, and that gives us a lot of confidence,” Doug Parker, CEO of American, told Bloomberg in an interview. “What we are now in the position to do is to go take the product up to a level that is better than either airline had in place.”

American will receive 100 new planes by the end of 2014, and will retire outdated aircraft. Over the next several years, the airline add will over 500 new planes through 2022.

Passengers can expect a “brighter and more comfortable” fuselage complete with Wi-Fi, seat-back video screens, lie-flat seats in business class, and power ports in all cabins.

In addition to in-flight upgrades, American also plans to revamp its check-in system with new kiosks that will reduce wait time at airport check in counters by mid 2015.

Since 2013, Delta and United have featured seat-back entertainment systems on almost all of their international aircraft, Bloomberg reports.