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Heard A Great WN Rumor Today!  
User currently offlineSwabur From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 100 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 11 months 1 week ago) and read 8322 times:

Anyways, I've talked to a couple of WN pilots that said that WN is converting some of the -300's into cargo freighters because of the expense in re-skinning some of the-300's. Interesting. Anyone to comment?


C'Mon Mav, do some of that pilot sh**!!
50 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently onlineKiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8626 posts, RR: 13
Reply 1, posted (8 years 11 months 1 week ago) and read 8284 times:
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but even as freighters they will still need reskinning anyway ? or have WN persuaded the new owners to pay for that ?


Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently offlineSwabur From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 100 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 11 months 1 week ago) and read 8234 times:

New owners? i doubt anyone will be taking over that part. A captain put it to me like this. " Every time we takeoff, the plane expands due to pressurizing,that puts pressure on the skin of the aircraft. Because we fly the A/C 7 to 8 times a day, this means that the A/C has limited time before we have to re-skin it. If we fly the aircraft as freighters doin 3-4 times a day, we wouldnt have to reskin the aircraft for another 5 or 6 years rather than now, therefore it makes Southwest money while saving it money" Something like that. Makes sense , no?

[Edited 2006-01-21 11:42:08]


C'Mon Mav, do some of that pilot sh**!!
User currently onlineKiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8626 posts, RR: 13
Reply 3, posted (8 years 11 months 1 week ago) and read 8217 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting Swabur (Reply 2):
If we fly the aircraft as freighters doin 3-4 times a day, we wouldnt have to reskin the aircraft for another 5 or 6 years rather than now

Good point , I hadn't thought about the few cycles freighters operate , but do you mean WN would keep these a/c and operate them as freighters ? that seems to me a big departure from their currently very successful model , up to now they have been very good at avoiding a loss of focus and that is one of the things that has kept them successful .



Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently offlineSwabur From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 100 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 8194 times:

Yes Southwest would operate these aircraft as freighters and just make the extra money on it. It wouldnt be a departure from the business model, just another way to find a niche in the industry. Lemme tell you, for example LAX is the biggest freight station WN has, there is a lot of freight that sits on the LAX ramp not being put on flights because there are too many bags and they cant put freight on, therefore costing WN money. It sounds like a great way for WN to make money.

[Edited 2006-01-21 11:40:51]

[Edited 2006-01-21 11:41:31]

[Edited 2006-01-21 11:43:03]


C'Mon Mav, do some of that pilot sh**!!
User currently offlineWjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5343 posts, RR: 23
Reply 5, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 8169 times:

Well...uh...there is an STC to convert 737s into freighters. Kitty Hawk, I believe, replaced some of their 727s with 737 converted freighters. Certainly, as airframes age and become insufficiently reliable for mainline airline service, they often find refuge flying cargo, because a significant portion of the world's air cargo fleet (but not all) does a lot of sitting around. And so the so-called "fixed" monthly costs (like the lease payment or loan payment on the airplane) start to be a much bigger factor in the total montly cost of operating it than do the so-called "variable" costs (that is, the costs that you incur only when you fly the thing, like costs for crew and fuel and oil).

So...I follow you as to the economics of cargo operation being suitable for older aircraft that are approaching retirement, but it doesn't explain what the pilot said. Perhaps he meant that as a -300 gets older, it gets closer to the day when it will need a major capital expenditure (like reskinning). However, today it still has value because of the cycles left in it, which would be used more slowly by a cargo carrier. Accordingly, because it still has value, a cargo carrier might be happy to BUY it from Southwest, which then can replace it with a newer (but more expensive) 737, with the new aircraft being a bit more efficient and much more *reliable*, which is important to an airline that needs a high "dispatch reliability" (percentage of times the a/c departs the gate without needing a maintenance delay) like Southwest does.

The problem is that converting an aircraft to cargo is itself a major capital expense -- in the millions of dollars -- because you have to cut a cargo door into the airframe, stiffen the floor, install a cargo-handling system, install a bulkhead or net system to protect the cockpit, bolster the landing gear for heavier loads, etc.

For what it's worth, what the captain would be better off doing is applying his argument to the subject of why Southwest should go into CHARTER in a big way -- they could have a fleet of aircraft that could sit much more than the mainline fleet, and be used when needed.

In reality, I think the chances of either are slim -- having ONE mission using ONE set of equipment has served Southwest very well over the years, and this seems like an unnecessary sideshow that would distract management.

Hope this helps.


User currently offlineSwabur From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 100 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 8135 times:

It helps greatly, Thank you. From what I had gathered, Southwest operates such a large cargo operation, that it would not be such a stretch of the imagination for WN to operate freighters. How much do you think that the initial capital expense would be? Wouldnt the amount of freight that WN processes offset the expense of retro-fitting the-300's? I've heard WN would profit 8 million dollars per A/C that ran freight. I dont know that people realize how much cargo WN processes. If the figure that I've heard is true, that would definitely help offset the cost of fuel. But thats on another tangent.


C'Mon Mav, do some of that pilot sh**!!
User currently offlineFlyboy7974 From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 1540 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 8083 times:

yep, heard that as well. we have a group of swa pilots here in prescott that meet out every weekend, and that was the topic last weekend. they said 4 planes to be converted to start

User currently offlineBigB From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 615 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 8063 times:

I think it would be a good Idea, especially if these aircrafts are paid off!


ETSN Baber, USN
User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13200 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 7926 times:

I would not be surprised and it does make a lot of sense. WN has an excellent brain trust and as noted above, does have a significant freight business. Having dedicated freight aircraft based at major airports they operate at would make sense for a number of reasons. I am quite sure their pax's baggage limits the amount of freight that can be carried on them as well as affecting turn around times they religiously like to stick to. Also frieight don't get drunk before getting on the flights  biggrin 
WN owns almost all of their aircraft. They have their own extensive mx facility to keep them in excellent shape. Their a/c have a lot more 'cycles' than many other airliners similar aircraft as well as many hours that put a lot of strain on them (think Aloha Air a/c that had fusulage failure in flight due to mx issues and fatague from heavy cycle frequency). As noted above, switching some older frames to freight would extend the calander on them as they would do fewer cycles on a daily basis. They also are not switching 'types' as mechanically they would still be the same but for the freight mods.
The question is this: would WN's own MX bases do this work, or would it oursource the conversion to a non-USA company like in Mexico, Central or South America countries to save money?


User currently offlineChris133 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 303 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 7779 times:

This idea has been around at WN for some years and it has been known that when the potential profits from it cover the initial investment and add to the bottom line then they will do it. As stated earlier it is not that much of a departure from their business model. WN already has the most of the equipment and staff necessary to accomplish this. As for the conversion, my guest would be that Boeing will do the conversion (Boeing will probably give one of its biggest customers a great deal).

User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 7763 times:

Additional "fuel" for this rumor is due to the fact that SWA just signed an agreement for PEMCO of Dothan AL to do some MX work for us. One of the things that PEMCO does is install side cargo doors, and, in fact, their DHN facility has two AS 737s in for such work right now.

I've heard the SWA cargo door rumor as well, but I have to take it with a grain of salt. Some have attributed the rumor to the same folks that were "certain" that SWA was going to pick-up ATA's 737-800s when they got into trouble financially, and, of course, that didn't happen.

I regress to my old Ops Agent mantra--I'll believe it when it rolls up to the gate...  

[Edited 2006-01-21 16:30:35]

User currently offlineZChannel From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 188 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 7679 times:

Quoting Kiwiandrew (Reply 1):
but even as freighters they will still need reskinning anyway

What exactly does the process of "reskinning" entail anyway?



ZChannel: Member FDIC
User currently offlineOkie From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 3188 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 7318 times:

Leaping Anacondas

Here we go, next thing you know WN will be flying freight LAX-DAL.
Then AFW will get on the band wagon with DFW about how the "Death Star", Love Field, is going to destroy West Texas to go along with North Texas.
I just can't wait for the fun to begin.

I'll go with OPNLguy, believe it when you see it.

Okie


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 7279 times:

Garry Kelly recently said:

"On another note, I’ve gotten a lot of questions around the system about a Southwest Airlines all-freight aircraft operation. It is true that I have asked one of our Sr. Directors in Ground Operations to lead a study of this. But we are very far from concluding it’s a good idea, much less whether to move forward. And I think that study will continue for some time. It is simply one of dozens of ideas that we explore every single year. So you can put those rumors to bed. There is no decision to pursue an all-freight operation at this point."

N'uff said...


User currently offlineMD90fan From Bahamas, joined Jul 2005, 2931 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 7236 times:

This sounds cool, but I just can't imagine a LCC Cargo Carrier  Smile


http://www.devanwells.blogspot.com/
User currently offlineWjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5343 posts, RR: 23
Reply 16, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 7095 times:

Quoting MD90fan (Reply 16):
a LCC Cargo Carrier

It's called Kalitta Air.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12181 posts, RR: 51
Reply 17, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 6921 times:

Then why didn't WN do this when they retired their B-737-200s? Those still had a lot of life in them, and they all got the stage III upgrade.

User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 6734 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 18):
Then why didn't WN do this when they retired their B-737-200s?

Higher maintenance costs related to aging aircraft, and higher fuel consumption/costs would be the likely two reasons, methinks...  Wink


User currently offlineVegasplanes From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 778 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 6525 times:

Seems like an interesting development, we will have to wait and see what happens. From WN's 2004 year end:


SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF INCOME
(In millions, except per share amounts)
(unaudited)


Three months ended Year Ended
December 31, December 31,

Percent Percent
2004 2003 Change 2004 2003 Change
OPERATING REVENUES:
Passenger $1,587 $1,467 8.2 $6,280 $5,741 9.4
Freight 34 24 41.7 117 94 24.5
Other 34 26 30.8 133 102 30.4
Total operating revenues 1,655 1,517 9.1 6,530 5,937 10.0

According to these numbers, WN only generates 1.79 % of their total revenue from freight, granted that is $ 117 million, seems like WN would than devote some older -300's to charter only flights, as they would likely fly less cycles as well. In the "Other" category, which I imagine is charters/military flying, WN generates over 2 % of there 2004 yearly revenues, or $ 133 million. Some food for thought.


User currently offlineSkywatch From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 923 posts, RR: 5
Reply 20, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 5828 times:

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 11):
I regress to my old Ops Agent mantra--I'll believe it when it rolls up to the gate...

Ummm....cargo planes don't park at gates under normal circumstances! Big grin If WN did that, they would probably make some pretty good pocket change.

---Skywatch



------Forever Watchin' The Sky------
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 5809 times:

Quoting Skywatch (Reply 20):
Ummm....cargo planes don't park at gates under normal circumstances!

Yes, but not all gates have jetways...  Wink


User currently offlineRachelBDL From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 72 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5157 times:

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 14):
Garry Kelly recently said:

When is this quote from? I've only heard this rumor in the past couple of months from a couple of pilots visiting our lovely station. We really could have used these over the holidays, with the oodles of freight and mail we had out of here.



I not only drink the KoolAid, I do the Jello shots too!
User currently offlineN200WN From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 784 posts, RR: 6
Reply 23, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5090 times:

Quoting RachelBDL (Reply 22):
When is this quote from? I've only heard this rumor in the past couple of months from a couple of pilots visiting our lovely station. We really could have used these over the holidays, with the oodles of freight and mail we had out of here.

The quote is from Gary's weekly recorded message...from about two weeks ago. If you go to SWALife you can read a transcript. This rumor has been going strong since before the holidays so it was good to hear him respond and put it to rest.


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (8 years 11 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5072 times:

Quoting N200WN (Reply 23):
The quote is from Gary's weekly recorded message...from about two weeks ago.

The very bottom of the Jan. 9th transcript...


25 Sfomb67 : I too would be interested in knowing what this entails. Lap joints or actual replacement of the skin? Has the FAA mandatted this ?
26 Post contains images Ptharris : AS does it in Alaska with 7 of their old 732s. Odd to see the cargo door open up front when you're so used to seeing them as pax planes all the time.
27 Post contains images Ptharris : As I understand (and I don't know or understand a whole bunch) but they do "reskin" either high stress areas or the whole birds. When I worked in Mai
28 Silver1SWA : I actually heard this rumor about two weeks ago from a flight crew. They were talking about converting our oldest -300s to extend the life of the airf
29 Post contains images Swatpamike : Hello All Considering that tonight in TPA land we unloaded more than 12K pounds of freight, and Saturday is a slow freight day, I can see where this m
30 Skywatch : That's very interesting. Do these freight flights fly under a different callsign? ---Skywatch
31 SPREE34 : Standard conversion wouldn't work for SWA. I hear their designing a conversion involving swinging tails (no...not the flight attendants) and swinging
32 Ptharris : I'm not sure. I would imagine they would keep the AS callsign. Not sure though. They primarily run up in Alaska, so I really didn't see them much.
33 Hiflyer : First off name the US carriers continually making money...UPS and FedEx. Obviously there is money to be made on domestic US cargo. However keeping uti
34 Post contains links and images Nosedive : It wasn't a rumor for both. It "happened." View Large View MediumPhoto © Howard ChalonerView Large View MediumPhoto © Terry Hale
35 Rolfen : Is the pressure on cargo aircrafts set to less then on passenger flights? mmmh after reflection I dont think they would, unless they make the pilots w
36 Amy : I thought Alaska's 737-200s were combis, Caro in front, PAX in rear?
37 Sllevin : They have adjustable barriers. But the main reason for the -200's as well for AS was the gravel kits -- something the CFM-powered birds don't have. S
38 N1120A : Not to mention RVSM Those are combi aircraft with a flexible interior, all passenger, all cargo or both. They fly as normal Alaska flights under the
39 Post contains images Lightsaber : Learn something new every day. Neat stuff... Oh yea, you're already on my RU list. Drop me an e-mail sometime so we can catch up. I remember the UPS
40 N1120A : Your doubts are correct. They stopped a few years ago A major problem I see here is WN's current no overnight ops philosophy. Cargo movements natural
41 Post contains images OPNLguy : I think some of your concerns are a tad overstated. We might not run scheduled service overnight, but we run plenty of charters and both MX and sked
42 Ntspelich : Gary has stated that we need to see a 7.7% ROI for this to happen. After the analysists got their hands on it, word is that making those types of retu
43 N200WN : I've heard LAX also. Apparently there's so much freight out of there that we can't handle it all and wind up trucking a lot it out. My understanding
44 Silver1SWA : Aw, what's wrong with my pal Silver?!
45 Post contains images OPNLguy : They couldn't get the main deck cargo door closed properly...
46 Av8trxx : That old rumor being rehashed again? It's almost like an Email funny you sent out ages ago and now find it in your inbox again from someone who never
47 Post contains images Swabur : Touche my friend! Its been coming up alot with many pilots that I talk to. I would say that its been the strongest rumor that I've heard in a while s
48 Post contains images AndrewUber : This couldn't be further from the truth. To suggest that an aircrafts reliability condemns it to cargo flying is pure hogwash. Yes, Kitty Hawk purcha
49 AirStare : I read recently that Alaska had announced it had decided soon to retire those high-time, high-cycle 737-200Cs (built new as such and used purely on i
50 FI642 : What about the rumor of SJU service from Florida? I keep hearing it from folks at TZ and WN.
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