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Why Did United Choose The A320 Family?  
User currently offlineUnited787 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2704 posts, RR: 1
Posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 12870 times:

Can someone give me a history of why and when United Airlines choose the A320 family for the narrow body considering they already had the 737-300 and 737-500 in their fleet? Was it before Boeing had offered the 737NG family? If so, wasn't it assumed that Boeing would be coming out with a next generation?

I assume this was a blow to Boeing. Was this a case of Boeing sales falling asleep on the job, like when the lost the JetBlue sale?

55 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDalb777 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2192 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 12862 times:

Quoting United787 (Thread starter):
Was it before Boeing had offered the 737NG family?

Correct, they probably needed new planes and couldn't wait for Boeing.



Geaux Tigers! Geaux Hornets! Geaux Saints! WHO DAT!!!
User currently offlineUadc8contrail From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1782 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 12850 times:

wolf was running ual at the time and from what i remember, boeing couldnt come up with a 37ng quick enough and airbus was pratically giving away the a320..im sure there were other reasons but those 2 come to mind..


bus driver.......move that bus:)
User currently offlineUnited787 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2704 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 12799 times:

Quoting Uadc8contrail (Reply 2):
wolf was running ual at the time and from what i remember, boeing couldnt come up with a 37ng quick enough and airbus was pratically giving away the a320..im sure there were other reasons but those 2 come to mind..

Thank you,

So I assume UA got a really good deal on them although we will never know. So, does the UA order that is still on the books for 23 A319 and 19 A320 part of the original order at that assumed good price? Are their additional options that are also at that assumed good price? What year was that?

Also, I noticed that on the Airbus website, UA took delivery of one more A320 than it currently operates, what happened to the mystery A320?

So many questions, so many experts, so much time...


User currently offlineA319XFW From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 12778 times:

Quoting United787 (Reply 3):
Also, I noticed that on the Airbus website, UA took delivery of one more A320 than it currently operates, what happened to the mystery A320?

If you look at the Airbus Orders and Deliveries list, there are a lot of operators who took delivery of fewer aircraft than they operate - this is most likely to do that they bought the aircraft off someone else (see FlyI's aircraft) or off a lessor.


User currently offlineUSPIT10L From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 3295 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 12627 times:

Quoting United787 (Reply 3):
So I assume UA got a really good deal on them although we will never know.

Yes, so did US Airways. I personally think they are better than 737s, much quieter and a better ride overall. But operationally, it may bite both carriers as things that break on Airbii don't break on Boeing, and that's what UA and US mechanics were trained on. I've worked with ex-mechanics and ex-utility workers for both airlines.



It's a Great Day for Hockey!
User currently offlinePhllax From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 437 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 12401 times:

This topic was discussed last week.

In a nutshell, the 400 didn't have the range to do transcon without an extra fuel tank and therefore less cargo space. The 320 could and there were ample delivery positions available.


User currently offlineFlyboy7974 From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 1540 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 12380 times:

b/s, ua bought airbus simply to get added rights through europe. It was all politics to get better flight slots, gates and terminal space. That's all

User currently offlineUSPIT10L From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 3295 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 12361 times:

Quoting Flyboy7974 (Reply 7):
b/s, ua bought airbus simply to get added rights through europe. It was all politics to get better flight slots, gates and terminal space. That's all

UA bought PA's routes to LHR and CDG. That included tag-ons to various points in Europe. Airbus had nothing to do with it.



It's a Great Day for Hockey!
User currently offlineKen4556 From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 169 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 12341 times:

If I remembering correctly, Airbus made a great deal with United and a return guarentte, if after two years, they could return them if they did not like them or need them. That was in the early 90's when times were not too good.

After Boeing lost the order, the 737NG happened as they knew that the existing 737-300/400/500 had range issues.


User currently offlineScorpio From Belgium, joined Oct 2001, 5028 posts, RR: 44
Reply 10, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 12341 times:

Quoting Flyboy7974 (Reply 7):
b/s, ua bought airbus simply to get added rights through europe. It was all politics to get better flight slots, gates and terminal space. That's all

I have no doubt that you're going to back that up with something other than hot air.

God forbid anyone would ever buy an Airbus because it was just the best plane for them at the time  Yeah sure


User currently offlineZeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 9041 posts, RR: 75
Reply 11, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 12264 times:

Some interesting data from Operational Cost's Of Various Airliners (by Worldjet777 Dec 29 2005 in Tech Ops)

Average total block hour costs per hour across all the USA fleets for
738 $2,859
320 $2,516

Average total cost of ownership per month per aircraft
738 $179,886
320 $163,357

Average fuel burn gal per hour
738 805
320 804

Total Average Aircraft Operating Cost Per ASM
738 4.8
320 4.3

The 738 does provide on average an additional 2 seats per aircraft for the extra cost.

Data based on Form 41 returns.

Sound decision in hindsight.



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 12, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 12230 times:

The reality is that Boeing had no plane to sell them. The first 737NG wouldn't fly for more than 6 years after UA received their first A320.

United has placed several large followon orders for 320s and 319s, including a 45 airplane deal in, I think, 1999.

N


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6782 posts, RR: 77
Reply 13, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 12205 times:

Quoting Flyboy7974 (Reply 7):
b/s, ua bought airbus simply to get added rights through europe. It was all politics to get better flight slots, gates and terminal space. That's all

It may be "all" in your opinion, but not in reality.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineCM767 From Panama, joined Dec 2004, 654 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 12161 times:

Quoting Zeke (Reply 11):
The 738 does provide on average an additional 2 seats per aircraft for the extra cost.

Zeke, if you compare both in all economy, would you have only 2 extra seats for the 800?

I believe that the 800 is larger than the 320.



But The Best Thing God Has Created Is A New Day
User currently offlineZeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 9041 posts, RR: 75
Reply 15, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 12131 times:

Quoting CM767 (Reply 14):
Zeke, if you compare both in all economy, would you have only 2 extra seats for the 800?

I believe that the 800 is larger than the 320.

That is historical data based upon how the airlines are actually operating them, and how much its is costing them to do it.

It is not glossed up manufacturers data.



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offlineUnited787 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2704 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 12118 times:

Quoting Phllax (Reply 6):
This topic was discussed last week.

Really? I did a search and couldn't find any topic relating to the A320 and United. If it was discussed it must have been off topic on another thread. Do you have a link to the thread?


User currently offlineKeesje From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 12074 times:

Quoting Zeke (Reply 11):
Some interesting data from Operational Cost's Of Various Airliners

Zeke, you get flamed for bringing this up. It has to be price..

Anyway, lets add better take-off / landing performance, comfort & 15-25% longer maintenance intervals.


User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 18, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 12074 times:

There is no appreciable difference in the take off/landing performance of the aircraft.

N


User currently offlineDutchjet From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 7864 posts, RR: 57
Reply 19, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day ago) and read 12058 times:

UA's decision to go with the A32X family was a surprise for many, as they were a long time 737 operator......UA launched the 732 and operated a large 735/733 fleet. What happened?

1. UA was looking for an aircraft in the 150 pax category for expansion and also to begin the relplacement of UA's large 727 fleet.

2. The A320 had more capacity than the 734, the largest variant of the 737 2nd generation family.

3. The A320 could fly most transcon routes, the 734 did not have the range.

4. Airbus offered UA a great deal on the A320 - for obvious reasons, Airbus very much wanted to place its aircraft with UA, not only was UA the second largest US carrier, they were a big 737 operator.

5. UA also wanted to gain experience with the newer technologies offered by the A320 (such as fly-by-wire).......I remember reading an interview given by a member of the UA management saying that the A320 was considered a transition aircraft by UA and the experience gained with the type would be valuable in th future for the introduction of new types, including the 772.

6. UA placed follow on orders for the A320, and also the A319........smaller aircraft with more range were interesting for UA as their route system developed and moved more and more to a multi-hub system.

Remember, this was a content between the A32X and SECOND GEN 737.....and when comparing those two types, the A32X family did offer certain advantages. Of course, Boeing went on to develop the 737NG family which competes head-to-head with the A32X.....many claim that UA's decision to acquire the A320 was one of the major reasons for Boeing to start the development of the 737NG.


User currently onlineJRadier From Netherlands, joined Sep 2004, 4680 posts, RR: 50
Reply 20, posted (8 years 5 months 1 day ago) and read 12058 times:

First of all, I don't care wich aircraft is better, just getting some conclusions and thoughts here, so replies are welcomed, but only if they have something usefull  Smile.

Quoting Zeke (Reply 11):

Average total block hour costs per hour across all the USA fleets for
738 $2,859
320 $2,516

at 2 seats extra that would be $175 per hour per seat extra, wich with todays ticket prices is pretty hard to get from pax (especially if it is economy).

Quoting Zeke (Reply 11):
Average total cost of ownership per month per aircraft
738 $179,886
320 $163,357

This is where it really hurts, a $16.5k extra a month, that is around $250 per extra seat per day (bit more, but close enough), on top of the allready mentioned $175. Let's say the aircraft flies 10 hrs per day (wich is pretty ok I guess) that would cost a 738 operator $200 per seat (for the 2 extra hours) per hour. Good luck finding paying customers for that day in day out.

I understand there are a lot more variables to this, but I recon this is quite close.



For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
User currently offlineUnited787 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2704 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (8 years 5 months 23 hours ago) and read 11842 times:

Quoting Uadc8contrail (Reply 2):
wolf was running ual at the time and from what i remember, boeing couldnt come up with a 37ng quick enough and airbus was pratically giving away the a320..im sure there were other reasons but those 2 come to mind..



Quoting Gigneil (Reply 12):
The reality is that Boeing had no plane to sell them. The first 737NG wouldn't fly for more than 6 years after UA received their first A320.

United has placed several large followon orders for 320s and 319s, including a 45 airplane deal in, I think, 1999.



Quoting Dutchjet (Reply 19):
UA's decision to go with the A32X family was a surprise for many, as they were a long time 737 operator......UA launched the 732 and operated a large 735/733 fleet. What happened?

1. UA was looking for an aircraft in the 150 pax category for expansion and also to begin the relplacement of UA's large 727 fleet.

2. The A320 had more capacity than the 734, the largest variant of the 737 2nd generation family.

3. The A320 could fly most transcon routes, the 734 did not have the range.

4. Airbus offered UA a great deal on the A320 - for obvious reasons, Airbus very much wanted to place its aircraft with UA, not only was UA the second largest US carrier, they were a big 737 operator.

5. UA also wanted to gain experience with the newer technologies offered by the A320 (such as fly-by-wire).......I remember reading an interview given by a member of the UA management saying that the A320 was considered a transition aircraft by UA and the experience gained with the type would be valuable in th future for the introduction of new types, including the 772.

6. UA placed follow on orders for the A320, and also the A319........smaller aircraft with more range were interesting for UA as their route system developed and moved more and more to a multi-hub system.

Remember, this was a content between the A32X and SECOND GEN 737.....and when comparing those two types, the A32X family did offer certain advantages. Of course, Boeing went on to develop the 737NG family which competes head-to-head with the A32X.....many claim that UA's decision to acquire the A320 was one of the major reasons for Boeing to start the development of the 737NG.

Thank you to everyone that was able to answer my questions, especially Dutchjet, very informative. Dutchjet, you are now a respected user of mine, you should feel very honored  

[Edited 2006-04-07 01:15:32]

User currently offlineNumberTwelve From Germany, joined Dec 2004, 1431 posts, RR: 9
Reply 22, posted (8 years 5 months 15 hours ago) and read 10475 times:

Quoting Dalb777 (Reply 1):
and couldn't wait for Boeing.

Why should they?

Quoting AussieItaliano (Reply 21):
You ought to try shitting out of your ass rather than your mouth!

Another example, that attorneys don't know how to respect people.



signature censored by admin - so check my profile
User currently offlineUAL777UK From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2005, 3356 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (8 years 5 months 15 hours ago) and read 10398 times:

Quoting AussieItaliano (Reply 21):
Hmmmm..... Can you show that UA got added rights through Europe because of the Airbus deal? Do you have any evidence to show that this happened? I don't see any evidence of this. You ought to try shitting out of your ass rather than your mouth!

Well said, that did raise a laugh here. what Aussie stated was complete and utter rubbish!


User currently offlineVS773ER From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2004, 279 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (8 years 5 months 14 hours ago) and read 10267 times:

What year did UA get their first 320? Were thre ever any in the old livery?

25 Post contains images VS773ER : In answer to my own question, 1993 (n401ua) so, no!
26 Post contains images Rotate : Why does Airbus even exist? They make the worst planes, everybody knows that ....
27 FlySSC : No. It is very well known that actually Airbus is paying the airlines to take their planes ... What about : the A320's family are better than the 737
28 OyKIE : Are these the planes that where delayed to 2011 after the Chapter 11 reorganisation?
29 Joost : Where does that 2 seat number come from. In all-economy/LCC configs, a 738 seats 9 passengers more than a 320 (180 vs 189). In more traditional seati
30 B797 : What happened to the Jetblue deal?
31 United787 : Because having two options is always better than one for competition, but in this case, it appears as though the second option, the old 737 lineup, w
32 Dutchjet : The story is that JetBlue had every intention of starting operations with the 738 - and that JetBlue management actually preferred the 738 over the A
33 FLALEFTY : All true. But IIRC, the real "deal sealer" was the superior "hot & high" performance of the A320 versus the 734. This was especially important for UA
34 N1120A : That is an absolutely ridiculous statement. Your numbers are completely skewed. Most 738 operators in North America already start with a major CASM d
35 Mariner : I can vouch for the Frontier part. The story was told in public by Sam Addoms, the then CEO of Frontier. There were still some later oddities, such a
36 N1120A : I halfway understand Boeing's deal with that as I think it was going to have to involve Boeing Capital and they didn't want to take a risk on a relat
37 Mariner : That was - at least in part - the reasoning behind the Frontier situation, too. Several of the early Frontier 319's were financed by European banks,
38 Zeke : I have not skewed the data at all, I object to such an assertion, I have listed my source, I have not manipulated the data at all. Do you understand
39 Antoniemey : He didn't say that YOU had played with the data, he said that the data itself didn't take into account pre-existing cost-structure differences betwee
40 Access-Air : Helloooooooooooooooo, Someone said it earlier.....the A320s were bought to replace the 727-200s.....as they relatively had the same passenger capacity
41 WesternA318 : Shouldnt you be comparing the 320 costs to the 734 costs instead, since that's what they were up against at the time of initial order?
42 N1120A : I didn't say you skewed the numbers, I said the numbers you used were skewed Yes, and as I said, there are many things that cause that, not the least
43 Post contains images JRadier : As provided by Zeke (wich numbers I used in my calculations )
44 SparkingWave : N1120A, you are spot-on. I second your opinion. Flyboy, that is a completely absurd statement and it's so untrue. Welcome Flyboy to my disrespected u
45 AADC10 : The reasons for UA buying the A320 series is pretty obvious: it was the only suitable replacement for the 727. I like the added width, but most people
46 Tu154 : I must say from a flight attendant point of view at UAL....we much prefere the Airbus to the B737. You will hear many a crew on the 737's say.."I hate
47 N1120A : When I talk to United flight attendants, that comment usually only applies to ex-Shuttle by United 737s that only have half galleys and no carts. Oth
48 USPIT10L : The 734's "hot & high" problems didn't seem to stop USAir/US Airways from flying them into DEN. That's all that flew there from PIT (minimum) for yea
49 AirbusA6 : The A320 is a much more modern aircraft than the 733/734. Boeing were slow to realise this, and probably lost the BA competition as a result of this t
50 BDL2DCA : There is a huge difference between having 3-4 flights a day and having 200 flights a day. Not to mention that DEN-PIT is in a different league from D
51 777fan : From a UA FF pax perspective, I prefer the A3XX aircraft as they are a bit quieter, "fresher", and have the drop-down LCDs. That, of course, applies t
52 N1120A : From a UA Premier Exec perspective, I prefer the 737s because they have a better feel. Opinions are like...
53 777fan : That being said, from a 1K point of view...nevermind! 777fan
54 Planecrazy2 : I do like the cozy feel of the F cabin on the 737s, but with the risk of getting on an ex-shuttle aircraft, I try to stay away from the 737s. I like a
55 777fan : Yes, sure do. The B windows are more squared off, whereas the A windows seem to be more oval-shaped. I've also noticed (as have many other a.netters)
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