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Are There Lots Of Slack In The DL Fleet? Opinions?  
User currently offlineavi8 From United States of America, joined Jun 2011, 701 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 10726 times:
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So recently I was at ATL and noticed about 15 aircraft parked at the Delta maintenance hangar. I also noticed how they increased mainline flying from JFK and LGA without adding any new aircraft. Now I know MEM is being downsized but not that many mainline flights have been axed. After seeing those 15 aircraft there, I was convinced that there must be a lot of slack in the DL fleet form them to take the luxury of not flying them. Another perfect example could be how they had enough slack to retaliate against US Airways when they started the CLT-SLC flight. DL had the aircraft availability to choose a comfortable schedule to retaliate with. Anyways I would gladly appreciate your insight.

Have a good weekend!
Avi8


avi8
25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinesrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 10671 times:

Quoting avi8 (Thread starter):
So recently I was at ATL and noticed about 15 aircraft parked at the Delta maintenance hangar.
Quoting avi8 (Thread starter):
After seeing those 15 aircraft there, I was convinced that there must be a lot of slack in the DL fleet form them to take the luxury of not flying them.

Not necessarily the case, as an airline with a fleet as large as DL's will always have a/c parked at their various maintenance hangars throughout their system. It's not atypical for DL to have 10-15 a/c parked at ATL at the TOC and at other remote parking spots, some of which are a/c parked as operational spares in case something were to happen to another a/c and others are there for scheduled maintenance (with the occasional unscheduled visit to the TOC).


User currently offlineN766UA From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 8377 posts, RR: 23
Reply 2, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 10525 times:

Quoting avi8 (Thread starter):
So recently I was at ATL and noticed about 15 aircraft parked at the Delta maintenance hangar.
Quoting avi8 (Thread starter):
After seeing those 15 aircraft there, I was convinced that there must be a lot of slack in the DL fleet form them to take the luxury of not flying them.

It's not a luxury, it's a necessity. Airplanes need maintenance! If DL could have them in the air, they would.



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User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5947 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 10460 times:

Quoting avi8 (Thread starter):
and noticed about 15 aircraft parked at the Delta maintenance hangar.

Did it not strike you that the planes might be at the hangar for.... maintenance?

They could be awaiting maintenance, or could be awaiting a return to the flight line on a certain schedule.
They could be ETOPS birds that complied with the extensive required inspections, and will be towed to departure gate in time for their ETOPS flights...

While there is always slack in a carrier's schedule, it's not there because the carrier likes to boast about large fleet numbers.


User currently offlinecgagn From Canada, joined Sep 2003, 345 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 10303 times:

Out of curiosity then, how many spare aircraft would an airline have at a large hub like atlanta just in case of a mechanical issue on another aircraft?

C-GAGN



Widebodies flown on: A330-300,A340-300,A380-800,747-400,767-200ER,767-300ER,777-200A,777-200ER,777-200LR,777-300ER
User currently offlinePHX787 From Japan, joined Mar 2012, 7970 posts, RR: 19
Reply 5, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 10205 times:

Quoting N766UA (Reply 2):
It's not a luxury, it's a necessity. Airplanes need maintenance! If DL could have them in the air, they would.

Also some aircraft need to be on call in case a necessity warrants. I recall the 744 that came to PHX in March to replace 2 753s. Also I recall the 744 that came to Midway to pick up passengers after another had an emergency landing there after a windshield cracked.



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User currently offlineSonomaFlyer From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1890 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 10205 times:
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Quoting cgagn (Reply 4):
Out of curiosity then, how many spare aircraft would an airline have at a large hub like atlanta just in case of a mechanical issue on another aircraft?

It'll vary by time of year and even by day since not all flights are daily. At a hub as large as ATL, there should be a handful of spares available. Some will be narrow bodies, perhaps a single wide body. Someone at DL can give you more details I'm sure.

Aircraft make no money parked. As a result, most airlines are increasing their daily utilization. This also means they must increase their maintenance schedules to keep the aircraft flying.


User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 10052 times:

Quoting avi8 (Thread starter):

Don't get to worked up over it. The fleet on a whole is stretched pretty thin. The most slack I see as of right now are the 73Gs, 319s, 76Qs, and 763ERs. On any given day, DL will have about 40-50 mainline RONs in ATL. This also doesn't take into account RAD a/c.

What you see is nothing out of the ordinary and typical of an airline the size of DL. You also need to take into account what's going on with the fleet. A/C are constantly cycling in and out of MTC for various reasons. There are line checks that need to be done on a daily basis and it isn't always at the gate, 3 day checks, engine checks, you name it I mean the list goes on and on. The a/c you see is not really a reflection of having a lot of slack or too many spares.

It should also be of note that DL runs more "operational" spares than dead a/c just sitting to be used. they will build trips in each frame 2-3 days out that will allow them to have the flexibility to swap in and out of a/c as they're flying on the line or through the hubs.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineCV880 From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1137 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 9182 times:

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 5):
Also I recall the 744 that came to Midway

MDW is not on the 744 takeoff charts.


User currently offlinefilejw From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 359 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 8835 times:

Quoting CV880 (Reply 8):

Midway Island in the middle of the Pacific. MDY.......and they sent the performance info via ACARs .....


User currently offlinePHX787 From Japan, joined Mar 2012, 7970 posts, RR: 19
Reply 10, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 8788 times:

Quoting CV880 (Reply 8):
MDW is not on the 744 takeoff charts.
Quoting filejw (Reply 9):
Midway Island in the middle of the Pacific. MDY.......and they sent the performance info via ACARs .....

Midway Island, as replied. Sorry for the confusion.



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User currently offlineDalmd88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2614 posts, RR: 14
Reply 11, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 8466 times:

Some of the "slack" is also international aircraft that sit for most of the day. That is the nature of the schedule. Many get towed to the TOC others to remote pads on the north side or south cargo. Sure you could send the idle 777 for a quick turn to SAV, but why? During the summer the TOC usually sees 5-6 RAD widebodies. The sit ranges from 4-8 hrs. Some get 'A' checks the rest just get daily ETOPS checks. Once the fall schedule hits there are less RADs but more aircraft are in C check or HMV at an MRO.

User currently offlinexdlx From United States of America, joined Aug 2008, 686 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 5640 times:

DL was one of the last airlines to change how MTC is performed in their aircraft. 20years ago the DL fleet as a whole would not have anymore than 2 or 3 MEL per airplane because a Mechanic would meet every flight and basically conduct a "trip check", and fix on the spot any issues pending, avoiding the accumulation of items.

In todays airline operations reality, this is not possible. An airplane may be on the line operating 3-5 days before the time for any MTC personel, to have the time to correct issues ( not related to safety of flight of course ). This reality in addition to the fact that MTC is "outsourced" in many remote stations. The conclusion is that once the airplane has down time in a MTC base, it is serviced and brought back to snuff. I understand the average MEL items in the fleet now are 3times+ higher than 20years ago.

Call it progress..... if you may!


User currently offlineDalmd88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2614 posts, RR: 14
Reply 13, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 4778 times:

Quoting xdlx (Reply 12):
DL was one of the last airlines to change how MTC is performed in their aircraft. 20years ago the DL fleet as a whole would not have anymore than 2 or 3 MEL per airplane because a Mechanic would meet every flight and basically conduct a "trip check", and fix on the spot any issues pending, avoiding the accumulation of items.

In todays airline operations reality, this is not possible. An airplane may be on the line operating 3-5 days before the time for any MTC personel, to have the time to correct issues ( not related to safety of flight of course ). This reality in addition to the fact that MTC is "outsourced" in many remote stations. The conclusion is that once the airplane has down time in a MTC base, it is serviced and brought back to snuff. I understand the average MEL items in the fleet now are 3times+ higher than 20years ago.

Call it progress..... if you may!

Our MEL count is actually pretty low. Same goes for ODI (Operational Difficulty Index, ie turnbacks, mtc delays, mtc diversions). The only outsource mtc we have is the HMV check and some of the old NW fleet C type checks. Over the past few years we have added Line Stations to get more touch time with RON or RAD aircraft.


User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 4725 times:

Quoting Dalmd88 (Reply 11):
Some of the "slack" is also international aircraft that sit for most of the day. That is the nature of the schedule. Many get towed to the TOC others to remote pads on the north side or south cargo. Sure you could send the idle 777 for a quick turn to SAV, but why? During the summer the TOC usually sees 5-6 RAD widebodies. The sit ranges from 4-8 hrs. Some get 'A' checks the rest just get daily ETOPS checks. Once the fall schedule hits there are less RADs but more aircraft are in C check or HMV at an MRO.

Forgot about that. GRU GIG LIM EZE HNL DXB LOS JNB to name a few all get in very early in the morning. And as you pointed out, they don't do domestic daytime widebody turns anymore, like in the past. They can easily do a 777 turn to MCO like they did for many years but they don't.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineSonomaFlyer From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1890 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 4589 times:
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Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 14):
Forgot about that. GRU GIG LIM EZE HNL DXB LOS JNB to name a few all get in very early in the morning. And as you pointed out, they don't do domestic daytime widebody turns anymore, like in the past. They can easily do a 777 turn to MCO like they did for many years but they don't.

A combination of fuel costs and yields dashed the daytime turns unfortunately. The flip side is the wide body a/c can have light maint stuff done during the down times at remote stands if needed/indicated.


User currently offlineusdcaguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1010 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 4566 times:

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 14):
They can easily do a 777 turn to MCO like they did for many years but they don't.

Is the reason for this the price of fuel and the need to keep capacity in check? My impression is that the widebodies are pretty expensive just to take off and land, requiring high loads and revenue, but it would be good to get some educated insight on this. Also, wouldn't DL risk disrupting the international schedule due to weather at some domestic outstation if it flew a lot of tag-ons? Just think about it; with more downtime, DL has more time to clean the aircraft properly, perform all the preflight maintenance checks and ensure that the aircraft is ready to leave instead of worrying about getting the aircraft back to ATL for an on-time departure to an international destination.

That said, I thought DL was flying DTW-ATL for a while with the 777; there is also a daily flight from ATL to LAX, so it does fly tag-ons, but not extensively.


User currently offlineB757forever From United States of America, joined May 2010, 439 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 4374 times:

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 16):
That said, I thought DL was flying DTW-ATL for a while with the 777; there is also a daily flight from ATL to LAX, so it does fly tag-ons, but not extensively.

The ATL- DTW continued to HKG. The ATL-LAX continued to SYD.


User currently offlineseabosdca From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 5853 posts, RR: 6
Reply 18, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 4365 times:

Some fleet types may have a bit of slack as reported by FlyASAGuy2005. But some definitely don't. In particular, the 738, 753, 764, 332, and 77L fleets are used to the practical limit. It gives you a good idea of which aircraft are most useful to the airline. I expect that if only DL could buy more 753s, it could use quite a few more.

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 16):
That said, I thought DL was flying DTW-ATL for a while with the 777; there is also a daily flight from ATL to LAX, so it does fly tag-ons, but not extensively.

Those aren't tag-ons, they're flights to rotate and position the aircraft for international flights. The true tag-ons are gone.


User currently offlineB757forever From United States of America, joined May 2010, 439 posts, RR: 3
Reply 19, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 4330 times:

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 18):
I expect that if only DL could buy more 753s, it could use quite a few more.

Agreed. Great aircraft. They love the 753 for the low CASM and range. It is in a class all it's own. Now I fully understand why CO grabbed the ATA birds.


User currently offlineDLDiamondboy From United States of America, joined Oct 2010, 72 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 4058 times:

Quoting avi8 (Thread starter):
and noticed about 15 aircraft parked at the Delta maintenance hangar. I also noticed how they increased mainline flying from JFK and LGA without adding any new aircraft. Now I know MEM is being downsized but not that many mainline flights have been axed. After seeing those 15 aircraft there, I was convinced that there must be a lot of slack in the DL fleet form them to take the luxury of not flying them. Another perfect example could be how they had enough slack to retaliate against US Airways when they started the CLT-SLC flight. DL had the aircraft availability to choose a comfortable schedule to retaliate with. Anyways I would gladly appreciate your insight.

Have a good weekend!

I fly out of ATL every week. There are always 10-15 aircraft @ the TOC and the hangers are always full. DL is a big airline with 773 mainline and DL owned RJ's . 10-15 aircraft @ the TOC is about 2% of the fleet.


User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 7
Reply 21, posted (2 years 4 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3381 times:

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 16):
That said, I thought DL was flying DTW-ATL for a while with the 777; there is also a daily flight from ATL to LAX, so it does fly tag-ons, but not extensively.

All are actually daily Repo flights. Every single international widebody flight currently loaded in the skd doing a domestic flight is a repo.

ATL-SEA (763ER) continues to KIX
ATL-LAX (77L) continues to SYD
ATL-JFK (763ER) continues to CPH (destination changes regularly)
JFK-SEA (763ER) continues to KIX the following day (alternating days when DL 879 is not operated by an ER)

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 16):
Is the reason for this the price of fuel and the need to keep capacity in check? My impression is that the widebodies are pretty expensive just to take off and land, requiring high loads and revenue, but it would be good to get some educated insight on this. Also, wouldn't DL risk disrupting the international schedule due to weather at some domestic outstation if it flew a lot of tag-ons? Just think about it; with more downtime, DL has more time to clean the aircraft properly, perform all the preflight maintenance checks and ensure that the aircraft is ready to leave instead of worrying about getting the aircraft back to ATL for an on-time departure to an international destination.

I'm betting it's a combination of fuel and also to reduce exposure. I mean, are they really going to risk having to cancel say ATL-JNB because one of their T7s went into maintenance in MCO or got stuck down there due to weather. And all so that they can fly a bunch of people on T fares to Disney World along with precious metal FFs on upgrades and certificates to their vacation homes. And you have pax sitting in ATL on $1300 non refundable coach tickets and people that spent upwards of $8,000/BizElite seat.

[Edited 2012-08-20 09:58:31]

[Edited 2012-08-20 10:04:08]


What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineusdcaguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1010 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (2 years 4 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 3082 times:

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 21):
All are actually daily Repo flights. Every single international widebody flight currently loaded in the skd doing a domestic flight is a repo.

Thanks for your comments, but I most profess my ignorance here...what makes the flight a "repo", and what exactly are they repositioning? Why wouldn't those flights just stay at the international gateway as opposed to continuing to ATL and back again?


User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 7
Reply 23, posted (2 years 4 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 2913 times:

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 22):
Thanks for your comments, but I most profess my ignorance here...what makes the flight a "repo", and what exactly are they repositioning? Why wouldn't those flights just stay at the international gateway as opposed to continuing to ATL and back again?

A myriad of reasons but mainly for MTC. There are some things that you can do at a line station like LAX, SEA, etc. etc. but more intensive would would have to be done in a larger stations like ATL, MSP, DTW, etc. DL does have line and stores in far east stations like BKK, MNL (744 overnight work), HKG, and a few others. NRT obviously being the largest, even with its own cabin maintenance department but the 63ERs are almost never scheduled to be in these stations long enough to get certain things done.

Another simply to keep the fleet "balanced" so to speak. Having such a large fleet of international a/c allows DL to do what they do now. Put the right a/c on the right route pair but this requires creating trip routings. So a 767 could fly KIX-SEA-(RON)-ATL-EZE-(RAD)-ATL-(RAD)-.....



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineB727FA From United States of America, joined Jun 2011, 815 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (2 years 4 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2835 times:

In the past two years I've experienced a substantial increase of "line mx" at what most would call out-stations. DL TechOps folks--not contract--in cities that I'd never thought would need/use "our" people. This has clearly made a difference (from my perspective) in dispatch reliability; things "get fixed" downline/en route which improves schedule performance and the passenger experience.

This also keeps the MX load in hub stations down on the "little stuff." I'm surprised every trip when the 1L door opens and I see one or two of our guys out there ready to get on and address things.

It's an investment that is paying off...



My comments/opinions are my own and are not to be construed as the opinion(s) of my employer.
User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 7
Reply 25, posted (2 years 4 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2596 times:

Quoting B727FA (Reply 24):
In the past two years I've experienced a substantial increase of "line mx" at what most would call out-stations. DL TechOps folks--not contract--in cities that I'd never thought would need/use "our" people. This has clearly made a difference (from my perspective) in dispatch reliability; things "get fixed" downline/en route which improves schedule performance and the passenger experience.

This also keeps the MX load in hub stations down on the "little stuff." I'm surprised every trip when the 1L door opens and I see one or two of our guys out there ready to get on and address things.

It's an investment that is paying off...

DL has re-opened quite a few line stations since 2010. This of course was in conjunction with the HUGE amount of hiring they did that year. They also re-opened quite a few 477 Line Stores shops. As Richard said, it's all to keep the fleet healthy. When you look at DL's completion factor and the fact that a huge portion of the fleet is covered by older MD88s, DC9s, 757s, and 320s, it's really great that a relatively older fleet is humming along quite well.



What gets measured gets done.
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