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Was ATA Really Looking @ 742 Or Was It A Rumor?  
User currently offline747400sp From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4246 posts, RR: 2
Posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 1933 times:

Around 2004/2005, their was a post that said that ATA was looking at buying used 747 200s to replace their L1011 Tristar fleet. Now I had wished for some time back then, that ATA would have a 747 fleet, so this was good news to me. Now, it is hard for me to believe that ATA would bought 747s, so was that post based off a rumor, or was ATA at one time, planing to buy 747 200s?

2 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineNutsaboutplanes From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 522 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 1706 times:

I am guessing that this was around the time that they went with the former NW DC-10-30's. I used to see them all the time in SEA for the AMC charter flights and they looked terrible with the ATA tail and the old bowling shoe livery on the fuselage.

I found it funny that they replaced the L-10-11's with DC-10's as they were about the same age but I guess they probably had problems getting parts for the less prolific Lockheeds. Since they bought the DC-10's, it doesnt seem too far off to think that ATA was looking at 742's and maybe also from NW?

I always thought that the 763 would have been a better option but they were probably more expensive to aquire and not quite as available. The military/ government contract flying though ment that you didnt have to operate the most efficient aircraft for the job and that probably drove the decision to replace an old fleet with another old fleet.

ATA was on their way out at this point.....I think they were grasping at straws when they were making this decision anyway.

American Airlines, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, Northwest Airlines, America West Airlines, USAFR
User currently offlinetztristar500 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1526 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 1554 times:

The B742, A340, 767, 777, DC-10 were all looked at and considered in the 2006 time frame.

The lease rates were generally too high at the time for the later model aircraft to make work due to the erratic, unpredictable nature of charter ops where aircraft can sit for days with no work or operate straight for several weeks. The L-1011 were paid for so adding a 767-300 at $600-700K per month would have been financial suicide. In 2005/2006, we came very close to leasing a 767-300 at a very good rate, but the deal was pulled when the leasing company raised the rate.

The 742 was deemed too large as the AMC generally prefers smaller aircraft, the A340, 777, and 767 lease rates were too high. This unfortunately left only NW's used DC-10s as the only short-term alternative. The DC-10s were certainly not optimal, far from it, but a better short term alternative to the L-1011 and the plan was to eventually move to 767-300s as their lease rates fell. The DC-10s were purchased as a sale/lease-back for 5 year terms.

The charter side of ATA was always profitable, just not considerably so. Unfortunately, ATA made some bad infrastructure changes, an ill-conceived purchase of World Holdings, and continuing losses from the scheduled side that was too much to overcome to shrink back to charter ops only. ATA was essentially out of cash in fall 2007 and lived on borrowed time until April 2008.

If you wonder how I know all this, I was Manager or Airframe Engineering at ATA, worked their since 2001, and intimately involved in fleet changes during much of that time.

35 years of American Trans Air/ATA Airlines, 1973-2008. A great little airline that will not be soon forgotten.
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