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US Airways And Boeing.. What Happened?  
User currently offlineCaptaink From Mexico, joined May 2001, 5109 posts, RR: 12
Posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 10050 times:

I am here messing around on Wikipedia, lookin' up airlines. Here i see that US Air was the launch customer for the B733 and in fact worked closely with Boeing in the development of the airplane with hopes of replacing their very large DC-9 fleet.

What went wrong with Boeing/US Air? Why is US Airways putting all their attention in Airbus?

"USAir was the launch customer for the Boeing 737-300, as the airline needed an aircraft with greater capacity to serve its rapidly-growing Florida markets. USAir was the world's largest operator of DC-9 aircraft and approached McDonnell Douglas for a new airplane. However, in the late 1970's, the company was not interested in developing a new variant of the DC-9-50. After negotiations with McDonnell Douglas broke down, Boeing stepped forward with a proposed variant of the 737. USAir chose this aircraft and the company worked closely with Boeing during its development, receiving the first plane on November 28, 1984."

Wikipedia Link


There is something special about planes....
25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAirFrnt From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 2823 posts, RR: 42
Reply 1, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 10027 times:

Quoting Captaink (Thread starter):
I am here messing around on Wikipedia, lookin' up airlines. Here i see that US Air was the launch customer for the B733 and in fact worked closely with Boeing in the development of the airplane with hopes of replacing their very large DC-9 fleet.

What went wrong with Boeing/US Air? Why is US Airways putting all their attention in Airbus?

"USAir was the launch customer for the Boeing 737-300, as the airline needed an aircraft with greater capacity to serve its rapidly-growing Florida markets. USAir was the world's largest operator of DC-9 aircraft and approached McDonnell Douglas for a new airplane. However, in the late 1970's, the company was not interested in developing a new variant of the DC-9-50. After negotiations with McDonnell Douglas broke down, Boeing stepped forward with a proposed variant of the 737. USAir chose this aircraft and the company worked closely with Boeing during its development, receiving the first plane on November 28, 1984."

The worlds largest operator of DC-9? Hardly sounds like a Boeing fortress. On top of that, the A320 is (imho) a more confortable plane and better for US Air's business model. That led to Airbus winning a 320 versus 737 battle. US Air's decision now to buy A350s while they were in bankrupcy was purely a reflection of the leverage Airbus had because of it's largest creditor status.

It has nothing really to do with Airbus as a Company or Boeing as a company. What was the best product and then who their largest creditor was determined the orders.


User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 20
Reply 2, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 10000 times:
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Didn't the relationship between US airways and Boeing sour when Boeing blamed US for the crash of USair 427 in PIT? Does that have anything to do with it?


In Arsene we trust!!
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 9983 times:

Quoting Captaink (Thread starter):
Why is US Airways putting all their attention in Airbus?

Because Airbus is a key player in the re-financing and re-orginization of the new USAirways.



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineBreiz From France, joined Mar 2005, 1914 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 9968 times:

Quoting Captaink (Thread starter):
What went wrong with Boeing/US Air? Why is US Airways putting all their attention in Airbus?

Northwest ordered 45 A320 in 1990 while United ordered 50 in 1992. US Airways had plenty of time to evaluate the A320 before going for it in 1996.


User currently offlineOzarkD9S From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 4976 posts, RR: 21
Reply 5, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 9955 times:

Stephen Wolf happened. Paint 'em gray, buy some Airbii, sell off the company, cash out the stock options and leave.


Next Up: STL-LGA-RIC-ATL-STL
User currently offlineCaptaink From Mexico, joined May 2001, 5109 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 9911 times:

Quoting AirFrnt (Reply 1):

The worlds largest operator of DC-9? Hardly sounds like a Boeing fortress.

I never made a comparison between their Douglas and Boeing fleet. The question was only, since they had such great interest in Boeing, and now no, did something happen along the way.

Quoting Arsenal@LHR (Reply 2):
Didn't the relationship between US airways and Boeing sour when Boeing blamed US for the crash of USair 427 in PIT? Does that have anything to do with it?

I heard something along those lines, but wasn't too sure so didnt bother mention it.



There is something special about planes....
User currently offlineSteeler83 From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 9174 posts, RR: 18
Reply 7, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 9664 times:

Quoting Captaink (Reply 6):
Quoting Arsenal@LHR (Reply 2):
Didn't the relationship between US airways and Boeing sour when Boeing blamed US for the crash of USair 427 in PIT? Does that have anything to do with it?

I heard something along those lines, but wasn't too sure so didnt bother mention it.

I, on the other hand, did not remember hearing about anything along those lines. Wait, I do remember Boeing blaming US, but the investigators narrowed the cause to being either the wake of a DL 727 or some mechanical error. The latest documentary of the crash, with some evidence from previous similar incidents that took place a year or two before as well as several years after. The cause was a faulty rudder; the rudder would stick in a certain position causing the plane to roll to one side and nose-dive. Similar incidents occurred with a UA 737 near DEN a year or so before US 427, and another incident involved a Metrojet 737 a few years after 427... Maybe US lost trust in Boeing and the 737 after that. I highly doubt that, but who knows... I think that the previously mentioned reasons (integral part of the future of US, more comfortable, etc) are more valid.

I guess Airbus offered US the better deal for their 120-160 seat aircraft, as well as for heavy aircraft (A330 and 350). US did say that they were going all Airbus fleet. If they preferred the 733 and 734 over the A320 fleet, then wouldn't they have added more boeing aircraft and not Airbus? Would we be looking at some 73Gs in the US fleet?  yes 



Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
User currently offlineMalaysia From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 3329 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 9545 times:

Piedmont was the launch customer for the 737-400 as well


There Are Those Who Believe That There May Yet Be Other Airlines Who Even Now Fight To Survive Beyond The Heavens
User currently offlinePhllax From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 435 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 9507 times:

A lot of it has to due with the fallout surrounding the crash of 427 and US's subsequent cancellation of the remaining 757 and 737 order. There is still bad blood between the 2 companies.

By the time US was in the market for new aircraft a few years later, the 737NG line had a HUGE backlog to fill. Wolf was able to get better pricing (some swear the 321's were thrown in for free just to get a North American operator of the type) and quicker deliveries from Airbus.


User currently offlineDeltaRules From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3722 posts, RR: 9
Reply 10, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 9451 times:

Quoting Phllax (Reply 9):
A lot of it has to due with the fallout surrounding the crash of 427 and US's subsequent cancellation of the remaining 757 and 737 order.

Any idea how many ordered 733/734s & 757s were cancelled?

DeltaRules



Let's Kick the Tires & Light the Fires!!
User currently offlineAirwave From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 1117 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 9227 times:

Another piece of the puzzle to consider is that, back in 1996, at the time Wolf & Co took over, US Air had at least twelve different airframe types and most of these were carryovers from the acquisitions US had made, so they all had different airline specifications. So, really, you could be looking at up to about 20 different spec'd aircraft. That's a lot of types to have in active mainline service at the same time.

Understandably, US wanted to reign in the tremendous costs associated with all the different specifications. Not only that, but on the revenue side, they decided they wanted to capture more of the lucrative East Coast business market, which entails a lot of short haul flights, last-minute bookings and cancelations, frequent equipment substitutions, and more airframe cycles--all across the system.

At this time, too, Boeing was in the middle of changing over from a focus on its earlier 737 series to its 737NG series. Although Boeing said it would continue producing the earlier model series as long as customers wanted, orders were clear for the new series. Airbus, however, was well on its way, having already diversified the popular A320 into a shorter (A319) and longer (A321) variant--all of which were available for purchase in 1996. By comparison, the 737-600, the smallest member of the NG series, didn't make it's maiden flight until 1998.

So here is US, with a desire to consolidate, simplify, modernize, and be as flexible as possible--and accomplish all of this as soon as possible. So when you look at it this way, when US placed that order for 400+ Airbus 'frames (A319, -20, and -21), it was as much about a major fleet rationalization and consolidation effort to pull in additional revenue as it was about what was readily available.

At least, that's how I see it.

Airwave  eyebrow 



When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
User currently offlineSteeler83 From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 9174 posts, RR: 18
Reply 12, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 9130 times:

So Airwave, from what you are saying, US chose the A320 family because they were readily available and came about first, while the 737 did not come out with their NG product until the late '90s... They went with the Airbus planes, tried them out, liked what they provided, and that's the end of it...


Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
User currently offlineAirwave From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 1117 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 8579 times:

Steeler83—I didn’t see this until I woke up this morning, so here is my belated response.

Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 12):
So Airwave, from what you are saying, US chose the A320 family because they were readily available and came about first, while the 737 did not come out with their NG product until the late '90s... They went with the Airbus planes, tried them out, liked what they provided, and that's the end of it...

In part, yes. The real short answer is that Airbus was in the right place at the right time with the right product for US Airways. If you want the rather longer answer, read on.

Decisions like this aren't based on one single event or a single string of events. They arise from several separate event strings that all end up together. It's not as simple as: US needs planes, Airbus has planes, Boeing doesn't, US falls for Airbus, Airbus makes US happy, US pledges eternal and undying fealty to Airbus.

Look back to my first and second paragraphs in my first post. There you have a good portion of the "strings" on the US Air side of the table that came together at the time of the aircraft purchase. Based on that, it was clear that they were looking for a short- to medium-range airliner family with operational flexibility to take care of their East Coast business markets and eventually replace their aging 737 fleet.

Now, let's quick look at the airframe manufacturers, Boeing and Airbus, and how their respective and comparative products relate in two key areas for this case:








OfferedEntered Service
A320March 1984March 1988
A321May 1989Jan. 1994
A319June 1993April 1996
737-700Jan. 1993Oct. 1997
737-800Jan. 1993April 1998
737-600Jan. 1993April 2001


(The base models are the A320 and B737-700; longer variants, the A321 and B737-800; and shorter variants, the A319 and B737-600.)

As you can see, by 1995/1996, all aircraft were offered for purchase. However, at the same time, only all of Airbus’ models were actually in or just about to enter active revenue service. Boeing’s first NG model wouldn’t enter service until late next year (1997) and then after that, the rest of the family would come online over the course of at least four years.

400 airframes of one central type is a ridiculously large order. That is an order that several fleets are made of. Clearly, it would take years to bring all of them online, regardless of which manufacturer they chose. But realize, too, that before 1996, US Air had never bought a plane from Airbus or had one in their fleet--they had everybody but Airbus. Its pilots knew Boeing, they didn’t know Airbus. What to do?

US, with its MD-81/82s, DC-9-31/32s, 737-2/3/400s, and at least five other distinct aircraft types, needed a practical solution. They wanted a fleet that was young and had commonality. They needed to both lower total costs and find a platform that could hold up to the new orientation of the airline and be operationally flexible. But most of all, they needed ready access to a lot of airframes and the sooner the better.

They clearly weren’t about to wait around for Boeing to get its act together (who knew if the NG program would stay on schedule?). What’s more, WN booked the first order of 63 737-700s (including 23 conversions from 737-400s), plus 63 options in Nov. 1993, so the line was theirs for a good long while, as were the pick of delivery slots. With Airbus, they’d get everything they wanted or needed—and, perhaps most importantly, when they wanted them or needed them. In light of everything, Airbus developed into the clear choice for US Air.

Perhaps, after having plenty of time to evaluate the A320, US Air decided that it was a comfortable plane, better suited to their new business model. Perhaps souring relations between US and Boeing as a result of Flt. 427 played a role. Perhaps, with the 737NG program facing a huge backlog to fill, Airbus offered US the better deal and quicker delivery.

We may never know what behind-the-curtain machinations took place that finally sent US to Toulouse, but I think it’s safe to say that the ready availability of an existing and in-service three-variant family of short- to medium-range airliners with operational flexibility was pivotal in introducing US Air to Airbus. As I said at the start, Airbus was in the right place at the right time with the right product for US Air.

Thanks for patiently reading this; brevity comes in fits and spurts for me, lol. I hope it clarifies my thoughts for you, though, but if you have any other questions, let me know. Again, remember, this is how I see it, but if you look at the evidence, I think this is a side you'll see, too.

(And that’s the word.)  biggrin 

Airwave  eyebrow 



When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
User currently offlineKYAir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 362 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 8384 times:

Thanks Airwave for the very informative post. Also, welcome to a.net and to my respected user's list!  bigthumbsup 


Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened - Dr. Seuss
User currently offlineJdwfloyd From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 837 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 8295 times:

From the story I have heard US did go to Boeing first when they wanted to update the entire fleet. US wanted to expand their trans-atlantic serivice quickly and also as was stated above replace some of their domestic A/C. When they went to Boeing and told them what the needed and by when Boeing could not meet the time frame or even come close due to the number of orders they had for the new wide bodies. US then went to Airbus and got a better price and the A/C were delivered a lot sooner.

User currently offlineCaptaink From Mexico, joined May 2001, 5109 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 8295 times:

Quoting Airwave (Reply 13):
Thanks for patiently reading this; brevity comes in fits and spurts for me, lol. I hope it clarifies my thoughts for you, though,

No, thank you for your informative post. The situation seems a lot clearer now...

Cheers
Captaink



There is something special about planes....
User currently offlineAvi8tir From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 409 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 8166 times:
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I flew US for the first time in a while last week. I was observing the odd mix of aircraft in their fleet. usually you see airlines staying pretty much streamlined with some exceptions. US seems to have a big disaprity.
733, 734, A319, A320, A321, 752, 762 & A333. 1/2 Airbus and 1/2 Boeing. I guess they are done with Boeing now considering the financing Airbus is providing.



*Long live the Widget*
User currently offlineThegooddoctor From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 523 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 8166 times:

Quoting Phllax (Reply 9):
A lot of it has to due with the fallout surrounding the crash of 427 and US's subsequent cancellation of the remaining 757 and 737 order. There is still bad blood between the 2 companies.

Two things to consider in the present
1 - Any bad blood between US and Boeing would be somewhat irrelevant at this point because the management has changed (though there was integration, it is my understanding that AmWest management is calling the shots)

2 - The current issue is probably one more of momentum than anything else - US/HP have majority A319/A320/A321 fleets in that capacity range. The 73x of both carriers are old and on their way out and they have current deliveries still pending with Airbus - to revamp the fleet with Boeing equipment would be a colasal undertaking and would be very expensive at a time when there's not capital. Furthermore Airbus invested in US - as such, there's probably no way they could come back to Boeing in the next ten years.



The GoodDoctor
User currently offlineSteeler83 From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 9174 posts, RR: 18
Reply 19, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 7860 times:

Quoting Avi8tir (Reply 17):
I guess they are done with Boeing now considering the financing Airbus is providing.

That, but I think Airwave put it quite well why US is going all Airbus and not Boeing. Granted, his post was rather long, but it was very insightful...



Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
User currently offlineSinlock From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 1633 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 7494 times:

Quoting AirFrnt (Reply 1):
US Air's decision now to buy A350s while they were in bankrupcy was purely a reflection of the leverage Airbus had because of it's largest creditor status.

The choice of the A350 was in hand with the $200M investment. I'm not aware of what dollar amount (if any) that Airbus held as a creditor but it surely does not surpass the amount that GE held.



My Country can beat up your Country....
User currently offlineAccess-Air From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1939 posts, RR: 13
Reply 21, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 7494 times:

Quoting OzarkD9S (Reply 5):
Stephen Wolf happened. Paint 'em gray, buy some Airbii, sell off the company, cash out the stock options and leave.

This was actually the very first thing that came to my mind!!!!!!

Had Republic Airlines NOT Merged with Northwest in 1987, they might have been flying a large fleet of A320s too... I mean he already managed to turn the company colours GREY and got rid of their Icon "Herman" from the tail of the aircraft....Give him a little longer and he would have Airbussed them too....
Didint he hold the reigns at CPAir and changed them to Canadian?? Didint he also make their change to some sort of blue and grey combo for their colours too????
Oh well....

Access-Air



Remember, Wherever you go, there you are!!!!
User currently offlineSocalfive From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 7394 times:

Quoting OzarkD9S (Reply 5):
Stephen Wolf happened

LOL, yeah, as I remember, that was it. First the Tigers, then UA, then US, greedy, dirty, got filthy rich through selloffs and got great deals from Airbus, not to impugn Airbus mind you.


User currently offlineUSPIT10L From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 3295 posts, RR: 7
Reply 23, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 6794 times:

Access-Air, that was AA's own Don Carty that turned CPAir into Canadian Pacific Air Lines. Then Pacific Western came in and bought Canadian Pacific in 1987. The rest is history. After PW bought CP, Carty went back to AA.


It's a Great Day for Hockey!
User currently offlineMarcoT From Italy, joined May 2005, 253 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 6582 times:

Quoting Airwave (Reply 13):
Thanks for patiently reading this; brevity comes in fits and spurts for me, lol. I hope it clarifies my thoughts for you, though, but if you have any other questions, let me know. Again, remember, this is how I see it, but if you look at the evidence, I think this is a side you'll see, too.

Well, thanks a lot to you for taking the time and the patience to write a long, informative and well reasoned post.



Too short space for my favorite hopelessly long winded one liner
User currently offlineAirwave From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 1117 posts, RR: 3
Reply 25, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 5487 times:

Thanks to all for your positive comments. I'm glad I was able to shed some light, if not post length, lol.

Quoting Jdwfloyd (Reply 15):
US wanted to expand their trans-atlantic serivice quickly and also as was stated above replace some of their domestic A/C. When they went to Boeing and told them what the needed and by when Boeing could not meet the time frame or even come close due to the number of orders they had for the new wide bodies. US then went to Airbus and got a better price and the A/C were delivered a lot sooner.

Assuming you're referring to the timeframe of 1995/1996:

Don't forget that when US Air bought Piedmont in 1989, PI already had an order out for six 762s, including options for another six. By the time US Air bought them, PI had taken delivery of all six original orders and had converted the six options to buys. Thus, when US Air started integrating Piedmont, they took up the remainder of PI's 762 order and received the additional six airframes, integrating both the aircraft and the routes into their sorely lacking transatlantic service.

Interestingly enough, I've heard that PI had interest in the 763ERs to cope with transcontinental and -atlantic traffic, but they were bought by US Air before anything could be firmed up.

Airwave  eyebrow 



When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
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