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Why Only Two US Carriers With The B734?  
User currently offlineVH-BZF From Australia, joined Oct 1999, 866 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 7 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 6507 times:

Am I right to understand that USAir/US Airways & Alaskan were the only two US airlines to order the B737-400?

Was the B734 a sales flop in the US, as it appears that the model was popular in Europe & with Qantas in Australia and some Asian carriers. Was it because?

AA & DL had large MD80 fleets?
NW & UA have large A320 fleets?
TW at the time also had a large MD80 fleet?
WN concentrated on the B733?

Was it because these majors knew the NG B737's weren't far off & thought they would wait for them? Maybe for AA & DL atleast, they were not ready to retire their MD80's at the time? Although don't Alaskan also operate MD80's?

Seems strange though. The B757 production line is now to be closed & it seems to have had a wider appeal in all markets, especially in the tour operator markets, although most major US carriers have large fleets - Though the B757 gave carriers big flexibility with the B767 (cockpit commonality etc.)!

Your thoughts???



Ansett Australia - (was) One of the worlds great airlines!
16 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 51
Reply 1, posted (12 years 7 months 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 6351 times:

This is something Ive often wondered too...


Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineCessna172RG From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 750 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (12 years 7 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 6277 times:

Wow, yeah, come to think of it...Alaska and US Airways...although JAL uses quite a few of 737-400s on their JEX and JTA services.

And if you look at the 737-300, you have Southwest, you have United, Delta, and others. The 737-500 has a lot of operators too. ANA and ANK use A LOT of these planes. UAL uses some too.

The 737-800 is the latest version of the -400 and now, this plane is very popular with a lot of people. Continental, ATA, American, Delta, and others use this plane a lot. And I will admit, the 738 is a pretty solid little plane. I've been in a few. ATA's with winglets sure is fun!

Save the whales...for dinner!!!
User currently offlineJmc1975 From Israel, joined Sep 2000, 3378 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (12 years 7 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 6238 times:

Who's Alaskan?  Confused

User currently offlineAJ From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 2406 posts, RR: 24
Reply 4, posted (12 years 7 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 6237 times:

Besides Alaska and US Airways there are several smaller operators of the -400 in the U.S, inculding Ryan International, but all have very few airframes.

Internationally Boeing 737-400s are operated by; China Xinhua Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, SATA, Air Nauru, Air-Berlin, Hapag Lloyd, Air Europa, Futura, Aer Lingus, Skynet, Aigle Azur, Corsair, BMI, British Airways, Malev, Asiana, Thai Airways International, Air One, Blue Panorama, Panair, Air Nippon, Jal Express, Japan Air Systems, Japan Transocean Air, Skynet Asia, Norweigan Air Shuttle, Luxair, Ryan International, Lauda Air, CSA Czech Airlines, Travel Service Airlines, Sobelair, Virgin Express, KLM, Batavia Air, Garuda, Mandala, Merpati, BRA, Varig, Aeroflot, Philippine Airlines, Air Polonia, LOT, White Eagle Aviation, Aegean CronusAirlines, Macedonian Airlines, Olympic Airways, Anatolia, MNG, Pegasus, Sky Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Islandsflug, Air Gabon, Aerosvit, Qantas, Air Sahara, Jet Airways, Comair, Safair, Kulula, Afriqiyah Airways, Air Algerie and Malaysia Airlines to name a few, so they are very successful globally!

The success of the A320 on the U.S. market whilst in competition with the 737-400 was surprising, clever marketing by Toulouse over Seattle may be the reason, or perhaps just the right price.

User currently offlineJustplanesmart From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 731 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (12 years 7 months 1 week ago) and read 6081 times:

MarkAir also operated the 737-400, but I believe all of these were leased second-hand. Also Carnival had several, which then went to Pan Am (II) after they merged. As to why it did not prove as popular as the 737-300, I have often wondered that myself, especially when the (larger) MD-82 outsold the (smaller) MD-87, the exact opposite as the result with the two sizes of the 737. The only reason I can think of is the range of the 737-400 was not as good as what the airlines wanted. I know this was a factor in United choosing the A320 over the 737-400, and helped prompt Boeing to deveop the 737NG, and the 737-800 has been the best seller among those.

"So many planes; so little time..."
User currently offlinePositive rate From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 2143 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (12 years 7 months 1 week ago) and read 6061 times:

In regards to the 737-400 being popular with QANTAS- don't forget QANTAS only inherited them from Australian Airlines and up until 1992 QF didn't have a domestic network at all so the correct thing to say is the 737-400 was popular with Australian Airlines.

User currently offlineAJ From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 2406 posts, RR: 24
Reply 7, posted (12 years 7 months 1 week ago) and read 6013 times:

Qantas must be happy with the -400 as they are presently being refurbished for continued mainline operation.

User currently offlineDeltaMD11 From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 1709 posts, RR: 30
Reply 8, posted (12 years 7 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 5984 times:

The reason that the 737-400 did not gain widespread sales throughout the United States is that it was introduced as a more direct replacement for the 727 series of aircraft (moreso than the 752), and at that time it was not economically viable to take 727's that weren't extremely old and replace them with something new. To my recollection, Alaska Airlines operates a solid 50+ fleet of -400's and US Airways has a good amount as well.

If you break it down:
American: Operated it's 727's up until 2001, the 737-800 superceding it.
United: Also operated it's 727's up until a few years ago, mainly been replaced by the A320 series.
Delta: It's 737-300's were inherited from Western Airlines in 1987, and during the eighties they operated a fleet (and still do) of 737-200's. They had already placed orders and began receiving the MD-80 series. The first two (maybe three) MD-80's they received were DC-9-83's, but were updated to MD-88's with new avionics and the whole deal. They recently retired the 727, again the 737-800 covering for it.
Northwest: Again, another resounding 727 operator up until recent. A320 series aircraft took over those routes along with DC-9's on some of the shorter routes.

I wont bore you with any more, but basically the 737-400 was poorly timed. It was in close competition with the 727 and airline just didn't have the interest in the -400 program at the time. Now that the global fleet of 727's is diminishing, the 737-800 is there to carry the torch (thus we see a healthy -800 orderbook).

The -400 was a niche aircraft in many ways.


[Edited 2003-10-24 12:41:12]

Too often we ... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
User currently offlineHlywdCatft From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5321 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (12 years 7 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 5867 times:

Did USAir originally order the 737-400 or were they all inherited from Piedmont after the merger?

I remember Piedmont with their silver 737-400s in the late 80s, but I don't remember any flying for USAir in the old 80s USAir colors (the one with silver and the shades of red).

I just thought that Piedmont ordered the 737-400, then after the merger USAir continued to take delivery of them.

Remember USAir had that goofy fleet variety for a while of all types of planes with pretty much the same passenger range

Bac 111

along with the 757s and 767s

and they had their commuter airlines flying practically every prop type in the air too.

Another airline to order the 737-400 in the USA was Pro Air

User currently offlineCO2BGR From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 558 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (12 years 7 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 5842 times:

The -400 used the same engines as the -300thus it did not have the range and payload to cary passengers on flights that the 727s and the M80s could fly. The limit on the -400 is about BOS-MIA.

There are too many self indulgent weiners in this town with too much bloody money" Randal Raines- Gone in 60 Seconds
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 30408 posts, RR: 57
Reply 11, posted (12 years 7 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 5771 times:

Alaska dropped their 727's in 1994.

Markair did have a couple too.

As many have noted, the market niche that aircraft sits in would have been pretty crowded with new and used aircraft choices.

User currently offlineVH-BZF From Australia, joined Oct 1999, 866 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (12 years 7 months 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 5697 times:

I have heard from a QF pilot, that their B734's have an uprated version of the CFM engines that power them! Also in the Australian newspaper today, QF announced that they will be flying the B737-400 non-stop from Canberra to Perth from February 4, 2004!

A very good point made above was that in fact the B734 was indeed a replacement for the ageing (but graceful!) B727-200. In fact Australian Airlines did actually order the B737-400 as a replacement for its B727's. Ansett went with European airbus A320's to replace its B727-200's.

Also, Hlywd catfd, I believe you're right about Piedmont ordering the B737-400, as I have a picture that I took at Washington DC (National-Reagan airport) of a brand new Piedmont (Blue & silver) B737-400 back in January 1989!

Anyway, I have flown on the B737-400 a few times now & it appears to be a good little flyer. There is no doubt that the new NG B737-800 is a ripper of a seller & I'm sure Boeing are very happy with its popularity & sales success!



Ansett Australia - (was) One of the worlds great airlines!
User currently offlineA330323X From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 3039 posts, RR: 40
Reply 13, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 5530 times:

Wasn't Piedmont the launch customer for the B737-400?

I'm the expert on here on two things, neither of which I care about much anymore.
User currently offlineDutchjet From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 7864 posts, RR: 56
Reply 14, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 5503 times:

Piedmont was, in fact, the launch customer for the 734......after PI's large 733 purchases, they went on to the 734 for more capacity on certain routes. The 734 is ideal for higher capacity short haul routes.......and sold rather well (for a simple strech model of the 733).

The main reason that the 734 did not sell in huge numbers in the US is that most US airlines, in the late 1980s up thru the late 1990s were perfectly happy flying their huge fleets of 727-200Adv aircraft. Many US carriers had rather new 727 fleets, and when the cash was rolling in and fuel was cheap in the 1990s and expansion possibilities seemed unlimited, the 3 engine/3 crew 727S was not a problem. Now, 2 + 2 is the only way to go.

User currently offline737-990 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 378 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 5378 times:

USAir(ways) had 52 737-400s at its peak (don't know how many are left), Alaska has 40. Carnival had 9 before merging with Pan Am and then going bankrupt and Pro Air operated 3. Also Aloha had a few -400s in its fleet (don't remember how many), but replaced them with an all -200 fleet for inter-island travel.

I think the lack of success had to do with the fact that many airlines like American, Delta and United kept their 727s for along time. United didn't like the 737-400 because of it's limited performance out of Denver. It ordered the A320 to replace its 727s (the 737NG was several years away).

Happiest is a man who has his vocation as a hobby
User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7906 posts, RR: 14
Reply 16, posted (12 years 7 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 5380 times:

Also it is to be noted that only Alaska and Piedmont/USAir had route structures very suited to the 734. The bulk of both airlines' networks were up and down the left and right coasts on short to medium range trip with reasonably high passenger demand. The B737-400 is about as right a plane as you can get for that kinda of flying. Which explains why it was a sales success in Europe.

Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
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