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Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by uggboy, Aug 20, 2012.
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|| 3 Emergency Landings Put Focus United’s Fleet ||
It's a pattern!
When considering that UA has 155 B757's that average 17.6 years old, with a half dozen still going after 23 years, this is a surprise??
As Tommy777 has said, look at the B744's, 24 of them, average 17 years old with the oldest also 23 years old.
Fleet aging is a big problem for US carriers, but AMR has addressed that with large orders for more than 500 narrow-bodies, among others. UA desperately needs them too, but early delivery spots are 100% gone so UA customers can look to lots of B757 problems for years to come, not to mention the 744's.
UA has quite a few aircraft scheduled for delivery in the coming years which will allow them to retire the older 757s. I don't think that AA is any particularly great position vis a vis UA on this one.
the 100 737MAX9 will only enter service from 2018 on although they'll have 50 of the 737-900ER to replace, as you say, the very oldest 757's
the 40 787's are arriving to replace the 767's but that is over several years so lots of the 767's are being upgraded in the meantime
the B744's only begin to be replaced in 2016 with arrival of A350-900's, so that problem will not even begin to be resoled for another four years.
However, all the 757's will not be retired until 2022 if they maintain the schedule of 737-900ER and B737MAX9's now planned, by which time the first deliveries of 737-900ER should begin to be replaced.
That does not even mention the 150 or so A320/A319 many of which, delivered in the mid-1990's, will be quite old by the time these orders are all fulfilled. UA currently has no aircraft on order to maintain a fleet renovation process, only enough to stave off the Medicare applications for the oldest ones. Thus aging fleet problems for UA will just move from type to type unless they somehow can take a systematic continuous modernization approach. AMR is beginning to do that, but they were in even more dire straits than is UA.
This analysis doesn't take into account the need to cut capacity. We've seen a couple of years of steady capacity reductions, leading to extremely high load factors. This is UA's dream come true (or any airline for that matter). You can drop a 752 and replace it with a 738/9/MAX if your goal is to shrink capacity or mess with service frequency in some markets.
Personally I'm already being impacted by the capacity and service frequency reductions in the PBI market. We used to have 4-5x daily to EWR during the week and now we only have 3x and the timing sucks big time...I can understand right sizing the fleet and trimming capacity but at least give us reasonable times to make the TATL/TPAC banks out of EWR.
I thought that there were still some legacy CO orders on 73s pending as well. And, equally important, many of the AMR orders are of these same types, planes which aren't yet available for delivery and which won't be for several years.
The 762s are being retired or sold. The 763s and 764s are being kept around as they are not as old nor as bad off for the company.
This is definitely an issue. We'll see what happens with this portion of the fleet.
Many of the sCO 757s aren't that old. I don't think that the delivery timeline is all that horrid.
I do not believe that this statement is at all factual. A fleet renovation is, by definition, retiring the oldest ones and replacing them with newer ones. That is exactly what UA is doing. They may not have grand plans for growing the fleet with the current firm orders but that's not necessarily a bad thing. And they've got a lot of options available to exercise if the economy justifies it.
No, it does not. IMveryHO capacity reductions will be temporary and will not last beyond the current stagnant economic times. Why? They never do. Thus, fleet planning for a decade or more should assume fleet stability at a minimum if not growth. Or so I think. If we really expect permanent shrinkage perhaps we should think in very different terms completely and not renew the fleet at all, just retiring aircraft that exceed, say, 25 years of age, and gradually continue shrinkage. I do not mean to be rude, because that is a reasonable strategy if they cannot conceive long term profitability. After all, how many airlines have ever made consistent money for their owners?
I do not argue with your points, mostly. However, even new B767 and current generation B737 are nearing obsolescence, as are all B757. The number of these aircraft now in storage from various airlines reflects that, as well as economic conditions. In fact both B737NG's and A320's with less than ten years of service have already been disassembled. That partly reflects far improved operating economics of the newest of the old aircraft types (Aviation Week has regular articles about another 1/2% or 1/4% improvements from a change or another for both the B737NG's and A320's. That makes new aircraft a much better deal.
I'm confused. Since when is a blown tire throwing debris into an engine a "maintenance issue"?
That's like categorizing a bird strike as "weather".
Two incidents that occurred recently on DL:
One is a gear or indicator issue the other was an engine shutdown. Clearly, DL has maintenance issues.
Of the three incidents cited, one was a sCO 738, and another was a sCO 752, so those are relatively younger aircraft and not necessarily ones planned to retire anytime soon. Only one was a sUA 752.
I do think that that arrival of the 787, as well as ongoing deliveries of both 738's and 739ERs will all facilitiate retirement of the oldest 752s and 762s. As the 787s arrive, either they or 763s that they replace could take over some of the longer 752 routes which are beyond the range of the 738s/739ERs (yes, with more capacity). Or the oldest 752s get replaced, and more of the younger 752s are reconfigured for low capacity Europe routes.
UA has a lot of aircraft being delivered. The only aircraft size not being replaced is the 744, and to some extent they can be replaced by 772's (giving up some passenger capacity but not much freight). I still think UA would be wise to order 77W's, and I'm sure Boeing would facilitate that, especially if there are further A350 schedule slips.
FWIW, I've been hearing that it was an engine surge and not that there was a blown tire. Not sure which is actually true.
The 737NGs are hardly obsolete. Some in use are old, but that's a very different thing.
Interesting. Per the ATC communications I figured the blown tire was the cause of the engine surge.
The ATC communications indicates that it was. I read somewhere that the follow-up inspection of the runway didn't show any debris. And I haven't heard anything definitive about it from the post-landing follow-up. I'm sure the FAA will publish something about it eventually.
The 77W really is a great plane, but its sales cycle has ended for any carrier that has not already acquired them or is not absolutely desperate for an airplane in that size class. Carriers that can afford to wait for the next-generation 777s, like United and the WOS, are going to do exactly that.
And even then, the oldest are only 15 this year.
By that rationale they should also skip the A350, rather than introduce that completely new type
From the industry reports both seem to be true. Tire debris apparently entered the engine, caused overtemps and the fire indications, but the debris was expelled thus they landed in normal two engine fashion, after which the engine, of course, had to be removed and subjected to major tests and repairs.
There is a difference between obsolescence and obsolete. This time the wiki captures it perfectly. "Obsolescence is the state of being which occurs when an object, service or practice is no longer wanted even though it may still be in good working order. Obsolescence frequently occurs because a replacement has become available that is superior in one or more aspects. Obsolete refers to something that is already disused or discarded, or antiquated. Typically, obsolescence is preceded by a gradual decline in popularity." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsolescence
The only reason the A320 series and the B737NG series are selling so well before the A320NEWO and B737MAX arrive is that the aircraft they're replacing are obsolete. The enormous disconnect between reality and perception is the dramatic improvements in efficiency and reliability in newer aircraft taht carry the identical names. That is even more so because financing brand new aircraft is easy and cheap, while refinancing ones only five or six years old is far more expensive.
B737NG's are not obsolete, even older ones, that's is true. They are obsolescent, though because of acquisition costs, maintenance costs and high costs of updating them with the features that make new ones, even new NG's so much more attractive.
the 777X when it happens, will effectively be a new type. OTOH, leapfrogging is the rule these days.
Yes, and the truly unusual thing is that we are now seeing airlines act today as they last did in 1957. Faced with the B707/DC8 airlines suddenly discarded almost new DC6 , DC7, L188. The L188 had only been introduced one year before the B707 and DC8 made it obsolete. The DC7 was only introduced four years earlier.
Today is not exactly the same situation, true, but the gigantic advances in CAD/CAM and supply chain integration have made the newest aircraft versions a very different purchase than those of only a decade earlier. For example B737's and A320's a decade ago had individual rework as a daily production event. Today neither does because the production and design processes are so much more refined taht the standardization and control makes them effectively different aircraft, so maintenance costs and reliability are far improved.
The side effect of all that is the precision that is now necessary makes new model introduction a nightmare with A380 and B787 as the poster children of delays and massively expensive surprises. Luckily because both Boeing and Airbus use the same suppliers each learns quickly from the mistakes of the other. In the meantime airlines really want the new ones because of all that improvement so obsolescent new aircraft are a vast improvement over the decade old ones, despite their identical model numbers.
As I hope I am making clear, these are my opinions not facts. They do partly explain the mad rush to get rid of fairly new narrow aisle aircraft with new ones of the same model, as well as the collapse of the secondary market for used B737 and A320 series airplanes. The remaining explanation is the financing choices, which return to the first point.
I don't think that the 'rush" exists the way you are describing.
Financing for new acquisitions in previously avoided markets is easier to come by these days so places which used to buy second-hand are now buying new. That doesn't make the older planes less functional or viable today. It just means that there isn't somewhere to sell them off to later as easily.
The aircraft that the A320s and 737NGs being bought today are replacing are MD-8x and 737 classics. Some of the oldest 752s are also being replaced. But I haven't seen any airlines retiring 737NGs to be replaced with new 737NGs, for example. If there are some please share.
Assuming the 757s are old and will be retired, what will UA use for that TATL capacity? My understanding (from here) is that the 787s are for the new long thin markets, and the 350s will replace the 747s.
The oldest of the 757s are the sUA ones, not the sCO ones used for TATL traffic. It will be a while before the TATL ones are in a position to be retired.
Those will end out being 737MAX9, probably. The current range and load statements do not show enough range for them, but Boeing has declared more or less formally that they'll solve the range problem. Because 737MAX configurations are not yet finalized they have lots of room to improve promises. As it is today there is no current production precise replacement for the TATL 757's and none of the presently announced variants of the A320NEO nor B737MAX quite make the grade. Right now this market is Boeing's alone and they'll defend it as they've promised to do. My personal bet is that they'll be selling a TATL B737MAX within the next six months, but most of the sales will be switches of existing orders made with TATL as the promise.
I do not expect to see those markets move to a widebody. Boeing, BTW, is expected to come up with a long ETOPS for the MAX anyway to meet the needs of the existing customers like Norwegian Air Shuttle, Lion Air and GOL (over 500 737's among them) all of which are in need of longer overwater range. UA will have the 757 ETOPS replacement soon.
I did not say there were. I did say older NG's had low resale value as evidenced by some of them as young as 8 years already being disassembled for parts. Mostly -600's but at least one -800 that I know of.
So what is the so called, "mad rush to get rid of fairly new narrow aisle aircraft with new ones of the same model," then?? Where is that actually happening?