UA has 30 B744s at the moment. Twelve of these were delivered between 1989 and 1994, while the rest has arrived between 1996 and 2000 (Five in 1997 and seven in 1999). These are not so old, and when you remember that in the past UA has operated 25 or so year old 741s, there's still some time left for the 744s, unless they decide to go for a younger fleet.
PM From India, joined Feb 2005, 6744 posts, RR: 65 Reply 2, posted (5 years 9 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 9298 times:
Many people here assume that UA will be a natural customer for the 787. In a sense, they are but they must be one of the best medium-term bets Airbus have for widebody sales in the USA. I can't ever see, say, AA flying A350s but I could see UA buying them to replace 772s. In that case, might the A350-1000 be a replacement for their 744s, just as several airlines are using the 773ER to replace 744s? And as for the A380, it can't be ruled out. Am I not correct in saying that UA fly their 744s mostly on Pacific routes? The A380 would do that job admirably.
Might Airbus pull off a coup and sell a mix of A350s and A380s to UA? I'm not here to say it's likely but I wouldn't rule it out.
UAL777UK From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2005, 3355 posts, RR: 1 Reply 4, posted (5 years 9 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9238 times:
Quoting PM (Reply 2): Might Airbus pull off a coup and sell a mix of A350s and A380s to UA? I'm not here to say it's likely but I wouldn't rule it out.
My god, to do that on Boeings doorstep in Chicago, would be a major coup! Cannot see it myself, UA may play Airbus and Boeing off against each other but IMHO when it comes to long haul Boeing will get the thumbs up with the 787 and I hope the 747-8i at some stage too.
Zvezda From Lithuania, joined Aug 2004, 10511 posts, RR: 65 Reply 6, posted (5 years 9 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 9110 times:
Quoting PM (Reply 2): In that case, might the A350-1000 be a replacement for their 744s, just as several airlines are using the 773ER to replace 744s?
UA could replace most of their 747-400s with A350s (operating at higher frequencies and with some fragmentation) but UA have seven routes (to NRT, PEK, and PVG) for which a VLA would be better suited due to severe slot constraints.
UA772IAD From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 1639 posts, RR: 3 Reply 7, posted (5 years 9 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 9046 times:
I see UA ordering the 748i (and the 787). As others have mentioned, its just out of good diplomacy with both being Chicago businesses. Furthermore, UA and Boeing have a long history of working together, and I would say UA is a pretty loyal Boeing customer. Hell, UA came out of Boeing. And while UA's 744s are deployed only to the "heaviest" highest yielding destinations (or those with slot restrictions) that operate on full loads consistently (FRA, HKG, NRT, PEK, PVG, SYD), I think the A380 is too big. I see UAs widebody fleet continuing to be all Boeing. Narrowbody orders are a wild card at this point
UAL777UK From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2005, 3355 posts, RR: 1 Reply 10, posted (5 years 9 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 8884 times:
Quoting PM (Reply 9): Not so loyal that they have bought a single 737NG.
Boeing for longhaul and Airbus for shorthaul, and I hope that UA keep it that way. IIRC the NG's were not available when UA needed to make a commitment to their shorthaul fleet all those years back. Why order and older aircraft that has been around for years i.e 737-300 when you have more up to date technology in the 320. UA will wait for the next generation of narrowbodies before it makes a large order on that front again.
All perfectly true but the fact remains that UA was a major 737 operator that has migrated to Airbus in a big way while AA, DL and CO have bought hundreds of 737NGs. The concept of "loyalty" (as expressed in post #7) seems a touch inappropriate. Neither CO nor DL operate any Airbuses at all these days while AA is rumoured to have a troubled relationship with Toulouse after the AA A300 crash.
So, my point in a nutshell: which of the following is more likely to buy Airbus widebodies in the next couple of years - AA, CO, DL or UA?
PHLwok From United States of America, joined May 2007, 382 posts, RR: 0 Reply 15, posted (5 years 9 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 8577 times:
Quoting Keesje (Reply 5): I think airlines like UA needs raw capasity premium space for their Asian flights. Replacing it with smaller types on their hard fought slots in Asia isn't a realistic option..
While I very much doubt that UA would replace 744s with 787s, remember the premium cabin revamps starting this fall across the whole widebody fleet will substantially reduce the number of business seats, mainly due to the increased size they take.
UA appears to be doing well on its transpac routes, but going from a 744 to a 380 might be too much, particularly with increasing competition on many of these routes. Either way, they're probably several years away from a 744 replacement and thus will have time to sit back and watch how the newer aircraft types (380, 748, 350, 787, etc) do.
I don't think the fact that Boeing recently moved corporate HQ to Chicago is relevant. UA has used Boeing for widebodies for a good while now, basically post-DC-10, and Boeing would compete very hard for the next widebody order from them regardless.
AADC10 From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 1863 posts, RR: 0 Reply 16, posted (5 years 9 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 8383 times:
Quoting PM (Reply 2): Many people here assume that UA will be a natural customer for the 787.
That assumption does not make any sense. UA is less dependent on the 767 than just about any other U.S.A. international carrier and the 787 is supposed to be a 767 replacement. Sure the projected 787-10 would have capacity similar to the 772 but with less comfortable, narrower seats. UA's general preference has been to mostly fly to international destinations that can support at least a 772. They will be a big customer for whatever eventually replaces the 777.
Quoting Keesje (Reply 5): I think airlines like UA needs raw capasity premium space for their Asian flights.
Actually they are shrinking premium space on the 744s and stuffing in more coach seats, making the 744s Trans-Pacific cattle cars. They are maximizing seats on their busiest restricted routes such as SYD and China with most of the rest providing extra capacity to LHR, FRA and NRT.
UA76Heavy From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 181 posts, RR: 0 Reply 17, posted (5 years 9 months 2 days ago) and read 7824 times:
On a daily basis, the A380 would be too large for UA's operations. Remember, UA has 6 US gateway cities (SFO, LAX, SEA, ORD, IAD, HNL) for its Pacific routes and it would difficult to fill an A380 when traffic can be directed through other cities. In contrast, SQ has a single gateway city (SIN) and QF two (SYD, MEL).
My bet is on the 773ER due to its economics or the 748i because its cargo capacity.
Kdeg00 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 145 posts, RR: 0 Reply 18, posted (5 years 9 months 2 days ago) and read 7800 times:
Quoting UA772IAD (Reply 7): its just out of good diplomacy with both being Chicago businesses.
I can't imagine any business the size of UA or Boeing worrying about the "diplomacy" of capital purchases totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. And it's not like Boeing and UA grew up playing stickball in a Chicago suburb together. Boeing is a recent arrival in Chicago from Seattle.
The biggest factor I see in any US headquartered company is the growing inequity between the dollar and the euro. At this point ($1.40+ to the euro) I don't see how Airbus has any chance to sell large orders to UA.
Dl767captain From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2539 posts, RR: 0 Reply 19, posted (5 years 9 months 2 days ago) and read 7371 times:
i doubt it will be anything smaller than the 748, they need the capacity on asian routes. The A380 seems a little too bihlg for them on all 744 routes, so mayne a very small A380 order and the rest 748. Maybe the A350 for a 777 replacement but definately not a 744 replacement
Zvezda From Lithuania, joined Aug 2004, 10511 posts, RR: 65 Reply 20, posted (5 years 9 months 2 days ago) and read 7306 times:
Quoting Dl767captain (Reply 19): i doubt it will be anything smaller than the 748, they need the capacity on asian routes. The A380 seems a little too bihlg for them on all 744 routes, so mayne a very small A380 order and the rest 748. Maybe the A350 for a 777 replacement but definately not a 744 replacement
UA have seven routes which require a VLA. There are several more routes where a VLA could be used. They need a fleet of twelve aircraft to fly those seven routes. There is no way that UA would split an order for twelve to twenty VLAs between A and B. One or the other will win it.
SkyyMaster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 21, posted (5 years 9 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 6902 times:
Quoting PM (Reply 2): In a sense, they are but they must be one of the best medium-term bets Airbus have for widebody sales in the USA.
As someone stated, for Chicago based UA to not buy Chicago based Boeings would be a real slap in the face. UA was the launch customer for the 772 and aside from the 320 family, has been a solid Boeing customer. The question, I think is, is the 380 too big for their plans? I can see 773's replacing the 744's, and whichever model of 787. Anything bigger I'd have to believe they'd take the 748. They seem to be like many carriers and are looking at frequency over capacity, so whichever VLA they take, I would expect to see it only on routes between the various Star hubs. Besides, last I heard ORD still isn't planning to do any major revamping to accommodate the Whalebus in any numbers, so look for them to stay with B.
PHLwok From United States of America, joined May 2007, 382 posts, RR: 0 Reply 22, posted (5 years 9 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 6480 times:
Quoting Zvezda (Reply 20): UA have seven routes which require a VLA. There are several more routes where a VLA could be used. They need a fleet of twelve aircraft to fly those seven routes.
Out of curiosity, which do you think these are? I'd guess routes like LAX-SYD, SFO-NRT, SFO/ORD-HKG, IAD/ORD-FRA might handle one, but I struggle to think of others. A few years back I would have said LHR, but UA isn't as big there anymore.
If UA were to actually get a VLA, I'd expect them on routes where they have little to no competition, competition is restricted by treaties (e.g. Australia), frequencies are slot restricted and 744s are already used, or are high traffic Star Alliance hubs (hence FRA being on my list), but outside of the Australian and to some extent the China routes, there aren't a lot of these, and in the case of the Chinese routes more capacity from competitors old and new is imminent in the next few years.
747fan From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 1165 posts, RR: 1 Reply 23, posted (5 years 9 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 6315 times:
I really wouldn't be in the least bit surprised if they come out with a Boeing 777-300ER order, as it seems to be the trend right now (AF replacing 744's w/ 77W, as well as SQ, Cathay Pacific, ANA, I think JAL, EVA, and KLM). At the same time, however, I can also see them ordering the 748 (or both 773 and 748, but unlikely). The only issue w/ these two planes for UA is that neither is offered w/ PW engines; the A380 offers PW engines (well sort of - EA is both PW and GE).