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America West A318's-What's The Deal?  
User currently offlineDeltaMD11 From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 1701 posts, RR: 34
Posted (11 years 8 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 4155 times:

Hey guys,
I was talking with a friend of mine today, and the issue of HP A318's was brought up. I was wondering, when are these birds slated for delivery, and also as to why their delivery was pushed back? I just checked the Order Book on Airbus.com and HP still has order in for 15 of the baby buses. I remember reading about the PW 6000's that the A318 is equipped with were posing a bit of a problem so I suspect that this may be the reason as to why all A318 deliveries have been pushed back. Can anyone add some insight?

Bryan


Too often we ... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
34 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offline777guy From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 493 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (11 years 8 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 4108 times:

I wonder if it has something to also do with the fact that they will be flown by mainline pilots as opposed to lower cost regional pilots flying planes similar in size.

User currently offlineBoeing 747-311 From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 795 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (11 years 8 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 4096 times:

I believe delivery was pushed back to 2006, after sept 11, and when they were granted the loan from the government, it was psuhed back, i belive.


Come fly with US
User currently offlineDeltaMD11 From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 1701 posts, RR: 34
Reply 3, posted (11 years 8 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 4059 times:

2006 seems a little far away. It is conceivable that they would push it back a year or two but 2006?




Too often we ... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25697 posts, RR: 85
Reply 4, posted (11 years 8 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4007 times:
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Boeing 747-311 is correct.

It was part of America West's deal with the ATSB - that capital expenditure such as new aircraft, be deferred.

HP couldn't afford the planes at the time, and the ATSB felt that HP had enough debt for the foreseeable future. So the A318's were pushed back until 2006.

As part of this delayed delivery, HP decided to stay, for the moment, with the PW engine.

The PW engine has indeed been having problems, and it won't be "fixed' until about 2005.

Frontier was given the same opportunity by Airbus - to delay until the PW was ready, but they chose, like Air France, to go with the CFM engine instead.

So Frontier becomes the launch customer for the A318, with the first one due due in two or three months (July?).

cheers

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7811 posts, RR: 16
Reply 5, posted (11 years 8 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 3874 times:

I really think that the America West A318 order is still in jeoparady though. With the Freedom Air CRJ-900s coming into the system soon it makes the A318s future gloom. If passengers and frequent fliers accept the aircraft on the routes that it will be flying, which are not too different from what the 737-200/A318 (will)fly then it seems somewhat silly to bring a new aircraft into the fleet with poorer economics and labor costs than the big CRJ. I'd be willing to bet that at some point HP will convert those 318s to 319s/320s instead. Especially if PW cannot get the kinks worked out of the 6000.


Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25697 posts, RR: 85
Reply 6, posted (11 years 8 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3807 times:
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You may be right about the HP order for the A318, but for other reasons.

The economics of the RJ's are a matter of intense debate.

HP has already said that their RJ flights (America West Express) are unprofitable.

Their value is as feeders into the main network, from small cities that can't support a larger plane.

This value starts to go away as the RJ's get bigger - you might as well have a mainline plane with a lower CASM (costs per available seat mile).

For example, MESA's CASM is 14 cents a mile (using only RJ's). Frontier's CASM on the A319 is below 8 cents a mile.

Since the A318 has a similar (if anything a bit lower) CASM than the A319, then there are many routes where the smaller A318 makes more sense than the RJ.

The problem for both the A318 and the B717 is that they came on the market just when RJ's became the flavor of the time for airlines.

But at least one airline analyst on Wall Street published a paper, just this last week, saying that the boom times for RJ's are over.

cheers

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineSllevin From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 3376 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (11 years 8 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3772 times:

For example, MESA's CASM is 14 cents a mile (using only RJ's). Frontier's CASM on the A319 is below 8 cents a mile.

Is this for Mesa in general, for specifically for Freedom and the CRJ-900's? I think the cost breakdown on the CRJ-900's operated by the non-union Freedom Airlines that will determine the direction HP takes on the smaller aircraft.

Also, an interesting comparison would be the cost differential between the A319 and the A318. If the 318 doesn't have significantly better operating ecomonmics (and thus has virtually the same costs as a 319 but with 20% fewer seats), that's going to pretty much dissuade HP and virtually anyone else from operating the 318 over the 319.

Steve


User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25697 posts, RR: 85
Reply 8, posted (11 years 8 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3743 times:
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MESA:

The 14 cents was taken was taken from MESA's website, and the latest quarterly report. It is not broken down by airline.

However, Horizon, which flies RJ's, has a CASM of 16 cents (taken from their website). This is higher than MESA in part because of the Bombardier Q's in the Horizon fleet.

A318:

The present consensus is that the A318 CASM will be somewhere between 5% and 12% lower than the A319. I said "slightly lower" because I didn't have the figures to hand and I was giving the RJ the benefit of the doubt.

We can't know for sure until it flies paying passengers with a particular airline and that particular airline's cost structure.

What we do know is that Frontier confirmed it's order for the A318 after the prototype had flown, which suggests that the plane was living up to expectations. Because of the PW situation, Frontier had the opportunity to wait for the PW, convert to A319's or change to the CFM's. They chose the latter.

I follow HP's finances some, but not as closely as I follow Frontier.

The advantage for Frontier is that on a lower performing route they can switch from the A319 to the A318. Or they can do it on different days - high load days versus low load days.

For HP it's a different ball game. They are concentrating on getting through a difficult time and they are constrained by the terms of the deal with the ATSB from getting much - if anything - in the way of new aircraft.

This is another reason why they can go to MESA for the RJ's. They "get" aircraft at no capital cost.

Hopefully, by the time they need to make a final decision on the A318 (keep or convert to A319's, whatever), they'll be in much better financial shape and can concentrate on the future shape of their overall fleet.

In such a fleet, I've no idea if the A318 may or may not have a role.

cheers

mariner






aeternum nauta
User currently offlineUal777contrail From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (11 years 8 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3731 times:

AIRBUS.COM? Doesn't work, how can you pull up orders?

ual 777 contrail


User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25697 posts, RR: 85
Reply 10, posted (11 years 8 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3724 times:
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airbus.com works for me. There are presently 84 orders for the A318.

cheers

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7811 posts, RR: 16
Reply 11, posted (11 years 8 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3671 times:

Hmmmm... very interesting. I'd still like to see costs of the Freedom Air CRJs vs. the rest of the Mesa CRJ operation. It seems odd, though I will take your word, that even with the dirt cheap labor rates they get for RJ drivers the CASM would be so high.

I suppose HPs final decision would be based heavily on the operational experience of Frontier, seeing as they run similiar operations. If it works well for Frontier, America West would likely follow suit. Without a 737-200 replacement there would be a significant gap between the CRJ-900 and A319.



Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineMasseyBrown From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 5604 posts, RR: 7
Reply 12, posted (11 years 8 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 3594 times:

Expressjet (Continental's regional) reported a CASM of 14.89 cents for their all Embraer fleet for the first quarter of the year. Utilization was about 7.25 hours; improving that not-so-great number should also improve CASM.


I love long German words like 'Freundschaftsbezeigungen'.
User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25697 posts, RR: 85
Reply 13, posted (11 years 8 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 3443 times:
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DesertJets:

I was surprised by the figure myself. It first came up on a Yahoo! stock message board for HP (I don't own any HP stock, but I have a few shares in F9 - FRNT).

I'd always believed that the RJ costs must be way down, which was why airlines are flocking to them. Having been given the clue, I did my own research.

And I'm still surprised. The HP statement - that they are not profitable but feed "beyond" traffic into mainline - seems as good an explanation as I'm gong to get.

cheers

mariner




aeternum nauta
User currently offlineCoronado From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 1213 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (11 years 8 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 3415 times:
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While labor costs are important a real key to CASM is stage length and hours of utilization.

Has anyone ever seen CASM by fleet type for a carrier such as NWA?

It would be interesting to compare the CASM of their DC9 fleet with average stage lengths of 400-500 miles and the CASM their A319 fleet with an average stage length of 1000 miles plus.

Anybody ever see a breakdown along these lines?



The Original Coronado: First CV jet flights RG CV 990 July 1965; DL CV 880 July 1965; Spantax CV990 Feb 1973
User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 15, posted (11 years 8 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 3409 times:

Both Frontier and Air France are probably pleased with the failure of the PW6000 - both already operate an all CFM A320 series fleet, as well as the obvious fleets of 737s.

Air France is a GE nazi thru and thru.

N


User currently offlineSllevin From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 3376 posts, RR: 6
Reply 16, posted (11 years 8 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 3346 times:

Expressjet (Continental's regional) reported a CASM of 14.89 cents for their all Embraer fleet for the first quarter of the year.

That's why I'm interested in seeing Freedom's numbers -- given that they are flying larger airplanes with reportedly significantly lower salaries.

Steve


User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (11 years 8 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 3267 times:

Since the A318 has a similar (if anything a bit lower) CASM than the A319, then there are many routes where the smaller A318 makes more sense than the RJ.

Actually, among the many reasons carriers have been cancelling A318 orders left and right is the fact that its CASM is actually significantly higher than the A319


User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25697 posts, RR: 85
Reply 18, posted (11 years 8 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 3216 times:
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ConcordeBoy:

It is true that a number of orders for the A318 have been converted to other Airbus types, such as the A319, but I suggest there are other factors at work.

"...its CASM is actually signficantly higher than the A319"

Flying for which airline? CASM is more airline specific than aircraft specific.

For example, a 319 flying for UAL has a significantly higher CASM than a 319 flying for Frontier.

CASM also changes all the time. Frontier's CASM has dropped by at least 2 cents since they started taking delivery of new aircraft (this would have been true if the new planes were Boeing or Airbus).

Of course, CASM can be projected. But then other things, such as intended route length come into play.

But my interest is not so much in the plane as the airline. Specifically, Frontier.

Frontier's management are much better at running an airline than I am. They've done the studies and believe that the plane's economics work. That's good enough for me, until and unless circumstances prove they were wrong.

If the A318 economics don't work for other airlines, hey, that's their business. There are plenty of other aircraft out there.

cheers

mariner






aeternum nauta
User currently offlineBrons2 From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3017 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (11 years 8 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 3195 times:

mariner:

It only makes sense that a smaller airplane (less seats) will cost more per available seat mile than a larger airplane (more seats) with the same engines and close to the same weights. Do the math, there's no way in hell the A318 will have lower CASM than the A319 if all other cost factors remain the same.



Firings, if well done, are good for employee morale.
User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25697 posts, RR: 85
Reply 20, posted (11 years 8 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 3173 times:
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Brons2:

I can only say that I have studied the A318 fairly intently, and the conclusions listed above about CASM are not mine, but those of people whose opinion I trust.

My only comment on your post would be that you say a "larger airplane" - implying, unless I'm being particularly dense, a plane that weighs more. This weight would, in itself, be an added cost not a reduced one.

Thus - I have also come across many, many comments claiming a perceived "weight problem" weight the A318, so I've put some effort into studying this.

There is a belief that the A318 is designed (perhaps because it is smaller) as a short range plane. This is not so. It has a similar range to the A319.

For short hops, the B717 wins hands down - but the B717 hasn't sold all that well, either.

As the stage length increases, the disparity goes away, until eventually it disappears - given that the B717 doesn't have the range of the A318.

Howsumever, I seem to be turning into an advocate of the A318, which is not my intention (althougn I do think it's a snazzy little thing).

My concern, again as I said above, is purely with Frontier. It ends right there. From past experience with F9's management, I trust them. I have listened to what they have said, and studied the information they've provided, and am satisfied they have made a decision that is right for them.

cheers

mariner




aeternum nauta
User currently offlineKellmark From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 693 posts, RR: 8
Reply 21, posted (11 years 8 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3112 times:

Bottom line. The A318 is at a too short end of the spectrum with its legacy weight of the original structure and wing of the A320-319 to make a good economical airplane with a decent CASM with such a short fuselage. It may have a decent plane mile number, but the cost per seat is still going to be higher than its larger brethren. This is why the B717, which weighs 20,000 lbs less, is more competitive over the shorter stage lengths. The 717s main problem is the lack of commonality with other Boeing products. But the A318 is really the worst design that Airbus has come up with. This is why a number of airlines have been converting to the A319, which is a much more sensible airframe.

User currently offlineSllevin From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 3376 posts, RR: 6
Reply 22, posted (11 years 8 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3077 times:

The things I see working against the A318 as compared to the A319 are the following:

1) requires same number of flight crew. Both a 318 and 319 will require 3 flight attendants as they have more than 100 and less than 150 passengers in virtually any configuration.

2) It weighs a mere 3,000 pounds less than an A319

3) It only has 85% of the seating capacity of a 319.

So how is this going to be CHEAPER to operate per seat mile than a 319? It won't be. It'll have a slightly lower net cost, of course, so for thinner routes it'll still yield a slight advantage, but much like the 737-600, it's going to be a niche aircraft.

Steve


User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25697 posts, RR: 85
Reply 23, posted (11 years 8 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3051 times:
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You guys amaze me. I've seldom come across so many people anxious to kill an airliner.

In ascending order:

Silevin: At what point did I - or anyone - suggest it was going to the airplane for all seasons? So it's a niche aircraft. Some airlines need niche aircraft

Myself, I'd have been happy to see Frontier buy Yak 42's, if that's what they needed.

Kellmark: see my previous post. Yes, I agree, the B717 is better for the shorter routes.

But the A318 isn't designed for short hops. It is designed for long and lean.

Frontier has suggested they may use it it for the quieter days on, say, DEN/LGA - which the B717 cannot do.

And would you really want to do that route in a cigar tube RJ?

cheers

mariner




aeternum nauta
User currently offlineSllevin From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 3376 posts, RR: 6
Reply 24, posted (11 years 8 months 3 days ago) and read 3020 times:

Myself, I'd have been happy to see Frontier buy Yak 42's, if that's what they needed.

And would you really want to do that route in a cigar tube RJ?

If RJ's did the job, sure. Actually, I think you're the one promoting the 318 regardless of whether it's really the right answer  Smile

Steve


25 DesertJets : The problem is, as I see it, it that both America West and Frontier are intending to use the A318 as a 737-200 replacement. On a one-for-one basis it
26 Sllevin : Frontier has suggested they may use it it for the quieter days on, say, DEN/LGA - which the B717 cannot do. Actually, DEN-LGA is only a tick over 1400
27 Mariner : silevin: (i) I think you miss my point.Someone asked a question about he status of HP's A318 order, to which I gave a response. It has developed into
28 Mariner : For those interested, as some appear to be, in weight, I just checked the GECAS website. Gross taxi weight: A319 = 170,000lb. A318 =131,000lb. Gross t
29 Scottb : Mariner- I don't think you're comparing apples to apples, though. Your A319 numbers are for a longer-range version than for the shorter-range version.
30 LGB Photos : I highly doubt that America West will take any A318's. I don't see the A318 as a good selling plane either. Stephen
31 Mariner : Scottb: It's so odd that there is always an "out." Even if I accept your figures (which I will do for the sake of the argument - my life is too short
32 Post contains links Scottb : Mariner- If you're going to nitpick, the number is 800 lbs, not "at least" 1000 lbs. They're not my figures, they're Airbus', you may view them at: A3
33 Mariner : Scottb: (i) I don't think I'm the one who's nitpicking. I have made my point again and again, and people refuse to concede that point. Since that poin
34 Post contains links Scottb : Mariner- (i) Of course it is your choice as to where your money is spent. I don't think that was ever in dispute. (iii) Even Airbus acknowledges that
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