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Legacies Fleet Composition Analysis  
User currently offlinerealsim From Spain, joined Apr 2010, 798 posts, RR: 2
Posted (6 years 1 month 9 hours ago) and read 2423 times:

Hi all,

I am doing an essay about aviation business for my University, and I wanted to share with you the data relating the US legacies fleet composition, because I think that you may find it interesting. Besides, if you want to share your thoughts about them, that would help me developing the subsequent analysis.

The data I am showing here is only about fleet composition. That means the total number of aircraft flying for one of the 5 legacies airlines considered (AA, CO, DL, UA and US). This includes the aircraft of the mainline company + the aircraft of the regional airlines owned by the parent company + the aircraft operated by a 3rd party carrier flying for the legacy. Multiple other factors would need to be analyzed: number of flights (an E145 operates much more flights than a 772), revenue, passengers carried, total capacity, etc. However, I think that the fleet composition can tell us some important things about each airline operations, and which are their weakness and strengthens.

The percentages have been obtained with the most recent data available for every airline. I don’t want to share the number of aircraft here because it could lead to a discussion about every specific number of aircraft types, seat capacity, etc., so please take the percentages as approximate. For example, it doesn’t changes a lot whether AA has 252 active MD80 or 250, or whether Pinnacle Airlines fly 126 CRJ-200 for DL or 124: the percentages will be almost the same. However, if someone wants the detailed information, please ask it to me.

Now, here is the data I have compiled:

(Numbers in blue mean they are above the average, in red below it. Bolded numbers represent the highest/smallest figure between the 5 airlines).


In the following table you can see the % of aircraft flying for the mailine carrier and for the regional carriers, owned or not by the main airline considered. I think this data is important because of the higher costs in mainline carriers vs. the regional ones. UA, US, CO and DL present similar numbers (around 55%), while AA has the highest share of mainline aircraft vs. regional flying for them (almost 70%).

US Legacies Fleet Composition Table 1


Here you can see how many aircraft are operated by carriers owned by the parent company of the legacy considered, and how many are operated by 3rd party airlines (outsourced flying). Again, AA presents the highest share of flying done by owned carriers, while UA and CO present the lowest. DL and US present similar numbers, the first one being above the average, and the second below it.

US Legacies Fleet Composition Table 2


This table is about regional airlines only. For the regional operations of each legacy, you can see here how many aircrafts are flown by regional carriers owned by the mainline airline (or its parent company), and how many are flown by 3rd party contracted carriers independent from the mailine airline. All the regional flying of CO and UA is done by 3rd party carriers, while almost all of AA regional aicrafts are flown by owned companies.

US Legacies Fleet Composition Table 3


In the following two tables, aircraft are divided in 6/3 groups depending on their capacity. In the first one, aircraft are divided in 6 groups (-51 seats; 51-100 seats; 101-150 seats; 151-200 seats; 201-250 seats; +250 seats), while the second one is more simple with only 3 groups (-101 seats; 101-200 seats; +200 seats).

Figures are very different between the five legacies.

AA has a lack of aircraft with -101 seats, compared to the other legacies, which almost double its percentage. DL, UA and US have a relative balanced regional fleet, while almost half of CO's fleet is composed by -51 seaters.

In the 101-200 seats range, DL has the smallest percentage and AA the highest. Finally, in the +200 seats range, AA, DL and UA have similar numbers, while CO and US present a relative lack of VLA aircraft compared to the rest of their fleet.

US Legacies Fleet Composition Table 4

US Legacies Fleet Composition Table 5


The final 3 tables represent aircraft types. I have split the data in 3 tables because of the 757 different usage. In the first table, the 757 is included as a stand alone aircraft type, in the second one it is included as a medium-haul aircraft, and in the last one as a long-haul aircraft.

The classification in long-haul/medium-haul is difficult because airlines use their widebodies in domestic flights. However, the data represents the usage that airlines could assign to their airplanes. Thus, all 777/767/330 are considered long-haul aircraft, while 737/320/M80/etc. are considered medium-haul aircraft.

What is clear is that US and CO have the smallest relative share of long-haul aircraft, while UA has the largest one. On the other side, DL has the largest share of regional jets, and the smallest of regional turboprops, and AA is below the average on both regional jets and turboprops.

US Legacies Fleet Composition Table 6

US Legacies Fleet Composition Table 7

US Legacies Fleet Composition Table 8

That's all for now. I have done a fast overview of the data to make my post shorter. I hope you have found it interesting, and all comments will be welcomed.  

3 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineshamrock321 From Ireland, joined May 2008, 1681 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (6 years 1 month 9 hours ago) and read 2405 times:

Great research, you must have spent alot of time doing this work!

User currently offlinetharanga From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 1886 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (6 years 1 month 2 hours ago) and read 2196 times:

This is good stuff, and a good starting point for discussion. Thank you for sharing it.

Some thoughts:

Tables 2 and 3 are not surprising at all; we know American Connection ops are tiny compared to Eagle.
Though I might have thought US would have more owned regionals.

Table 1, I'd like to see done on a capacity basis, instead of an aircraft basis. I'm also surprised that AA is an outlier in Table 1. Why is this? Is there something here with different scope clauses?

In fact, if you review how different scope clauses affect or don't affect these numbers, that'd be fun.

Table 4 and 5 might be easier to visually process as a histogram distribution. Maybe.

I'd enjoy it if you posted more, as you do the work. And perhaps some analysis, and not just the numbers.

User currently offlineMSPNWA From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 2660 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (6 years 1 month 1 hour ago) and read 2093 times:

Wow, thanks for the info! That must have taken a bit of work! I enjoy reading numbers, and so it was interesting to compare what my guesses would be versus the actual results. Nice job.

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