SpaceshipDC10 From Canada, joined Jan 2013, 411 posts, RR: 0 Posted (2 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 5829 times:
On the production list published by TAHS, I've seen that there were three positions (msn 20337-20338-20339) intended for Western Airlines but were NTU. They are visible on airlinerlist too. I've searched here through the archives without any luck. So did WA ever ordered or took options on any B747s before cancelling them or, has Boeing reserved these positions in case the airline would join the ranks of its 747 customers?
I don't know when, but my understanding is they didn't have the financial backing to afford the 747s. So they were cancelled. Somewhere I saw a rendition of a 747 in the old Indian Head livery (which I far prefer to the big red W).
It's also been posted before that AS either ordered one 741 or were about to order one to serve Russia, I believe.
RWA380 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2160 posts, RR: 4 Reply 8, posted (2 months 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 5182 times:
Quoting BigGSFO (Reply 6): Interesting but unless they had some ambitious growth plans (other than mainland to/from Hawaii) I don't see why the 747 would have been a good fit.
Quoting FI642 (Reply 7): Not to mention it was just too much plane for them
That didn't stop DL, EA, NA, or AA, all of these airlines only kept their 741's for a relatively short time. The 747 proved to be too much aircraft for several airlines. WA likely ordered them for the same reason the rest did, prestige.
[Edited 2013-03-17 17:02:29]
Next Flights: AS PDX-SEA-KOA on DH4/738 in F, HA KOA-OGG on 717 in Y, AS OGG-PDX on 738 in F
Western was a very well-run airline. They probably quickly realized that the 747 was inappropriate for their route network. Unfortunately a few other U.S. carriers like Delta, Continental and National had to take delivery and put their early 741s into service before discovering that they had no appropriate routes for them and that flying 747s often much less than half full wasn't very economic.
American 767 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3321 posts, RR: 14 Reply 10, posted (2 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 5059 times:
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 9): They probably quickly realized that the 747 was inappropriate for their route network.
Even if WA took delivery of those, they would not have lasted long in the fleet. They would have been phased out a long time ago, no doubt about that. The only route I see that would have maybe supported the 747 is LAX-HNL.
"Aimer jusqu'a l'impossible, c'est possible". Tina Arena.
bohica From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2409 posts, RR: 0 Reply 11, posted (2 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 4869 times:
The executives at WA came to their senses early enough to cancel the 747 order. Prestiege is one thing but being financially smart is another. The 747 did not fit in WA's route structure. Other than Hawaii, there was nowhere to fly it. It would have been too big for Alaska, Mexico, or anywhere domestically WA flew. The DC-10 was a better fit for WA and their route structure. I believe the 747 orders were converted to 727 and 737 orders.
HNL-Jack From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 793 posts, RR: 0 Reply 12, posted (2 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 4677 times:
Quoting yyz717 (Reply 4): It's also been posted before that AS either ordered one 741 or were about to order one to serve Russia, I believe.
They did and it was going to feature their Golden Nugget Service complete with a piano bar in the upstairs lounge. The airplane ultimately went to Braniff, their first and was the orange pumpkin that flew the DAL/HNL run.
Grew up in the business and continued the family tradition.
SpaceshipDC10 From Canada, joined Jan 2013, 411 posts, RR: 0 Reply 15, posted (2 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3680 times:
I completely forgot I have a great book that could answer my questions.
On January 4, 1969, President Johnson confirmed a CAB decision awarding Western routes between eleven Mainland cities and Hawaii, including ANC-HNL. [...] Drinkwater was overjoyed. Shortly after the Hawaiian award was announced, he placed orders with Boeing for twelve new jets -- three 747s, five additional 707 Intercontinentals, and four more stretched 727s. The contracts were conditional on Western's obtaining lender approval and satisfactory financing arrangements. [...] The trio of jumbo jets were easy to justify - they were scheduled for delivery starting October 1970, and Terry (Drinkwater) was not alone in believing that Western had to have wide-bodied aircraft to compete in the Hawaii market; Pan Am, United, and Continental all had ordered the 747. pages 406-407
When things began to go bad at Western, Kerkorian gave him his orders. Benninger wasn't happy about them, but he was a crack executive officer to a ship's captain; Kerkorian had told him, "Well, I guess you're elected--see if you can straighten things out," and Benninger had taken him at his word.
Western's equipment problems came up at the first eighteen-man Board meeting held after the near-proxy brawl. Benninger asked bluntly why WAL wanted to buy the giant plane, and listened quietly to various officials defending its purchase--the chief justification being that it was needed for competitive reasons. When all the pros had been enunciated, Benninger demolished them with a single con:"Listen,he said, as long as I'm director of this company, I'll vote against the 747." There were protests - Drinkwater and Shatto were enraged, and Kelly, although he agreed with Benninger's gloomy analysis of Western's financial situation, still was concerned about competing against the magnificent new jumbos with narrow-bodied 707s. It wasn't much of a contest, however; most of the new Kerkorian-picked directors knew virtually nothing about aviation and went along with Benninger, not only in his opposition to the 747 but also in his suggestionthat Western temporarily abandon equipment expansion until it got back to a more solid financial position.
The result was cancellation of the agreements for the three 747s, five 707s, and four 727s. pages 414-415
jfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 7345 posts, RR: 7 Reply 16, posted (2 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 3513 times:
Western was another medium sized airline caught up in the "hype" of the 747. It ordered them to keep up with other airlines. Like Eastern, National and other they decided smaller DC-10 or L-1011 were better for them.
sunking737 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 1930 posts, RR: 9 Reply 17, posted (2 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 3405 times:
By the way, The Only Way To Fly - Robert J. Serling, is a very good book on the history of Western. I had a copy and read it many times. It covers the company from its founding in 1926 to I believe 1976. It was written for their 50th anniv.
WA707atMSP From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 2042 posts, RR: 13 Reply 19, posted (2 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 2644 times:
Quoting RWA380 (Reply 8): Quoting BigGSFO (Reply 6):
Interesting but unless they had some ambitious growth plans (other than mainland to/from Hawaii) I don't see why the 747 would have been a good fit.
Quoting FI642 (Reply 7):
Not to mention it was just too much plane for them
That didn't stop DL, EA, NA, or AA, all of these airlines only kept their 741's for a relatively short time.
AA grounded seven of their 747-123s in 1974, but kept the remaining nine until 1984/85.
One of the grounded aircraft went to NASA for the space shuttle program, two were turned into freighters for AA, three were converted into freighters for Flying Tigers, and the remaining aircraft was converted into a freighter for TMA. All of the Flying Tigers and TMA freighters were later re purchased by AA.
AA did lease one of their 747s to Braniff in 1978 after BN was awarded DFW-LGW. The aircraft operated in a non-standard AA metal scheme, with just an orange stripe covering AA's red / white/blue stripes.
MaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 15728 posts, RR: 47 Reply 20, posted (2 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2297 times:
Quoting RWA380 (Reply 8): That didn't stop DL, EA, NA, or AA, all of these airlines only kept their 741's for a relatively short time. The 747 proved to be too much aircraft for several airlines. WA likely ordered them for the same reason the rest did, prestige
Hard to believe we're still seeing the same scenario play out with a good number of 380 customers.
Frankly, I am surprised that Western didn't take up the B747 order, as they were entering the Hawaii market. Certainly, the competitors would be flying a B747, and that is a huge disadvantage. If Western were new in the market, and UA, PA, AA, CO, etc. were all flying a wide body aircraft, and they weren't ... I am surprised they were successful at all.
A lot of the younger people on here don't understand the huge advantage a wide body aircraft was in competition. Remember, fares were regulated, and the same ... it was service that dictated airline choice. That is why you had domestic airlines like UA, EA, AA all flying B747s around the US. It was for that all important bold faced type in the timetable.
Granted, WA was wise in waiting for the DC-10, an aircraft better suited to its needs. But I sure, during that two year gap, using a B707 to compete against a B747, they questioned that decision more than once!
Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
BoeingGuy From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 2307 posts, RR: 7 Reply 24, posted (2 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 1862 times:
Quoting longhauler (Reply 23): Granted, WA was wise in waiting for the DC-10, an aircraft better suited to its needs. But I sure, during that two year gap, using a B707 to compete against a B747, they questioned that decision more than once!
WA wasn't just competing with 747s. Each route had a mix of wide-body and narrow body airplanes. For example, in 1973 PA had three daily SFO-HNL flights. One was a 747 and two were 707s. It wasn't like every PA passenger was on the one 747 flight. Same with UA. Some SFO or LAX-HNL flights were 747s; some were DC-8s.
WA also flew some routes that were more suited to the 707 or 720 like SAN-HNL; OAK-HNL and SJC-HNL.
25 sunking737: How times have changed with many carriers now flying narrow body vs wide body. Remember Boeing had problems with the "new" engines from P&W and Ro
26 longhauler: I certainly agree, and in hind-sight WA made the correct decision. But, I also remember AA flying the B747 from ORD-PHX, DL from ORD-ATL and EA from
27 SpaceshipDC10: Of course, but the CAB's decision was not necessarily fair to WA since all its LAX-HNL flights had to start at a point east of California while CO di
28 BoeingGuy: IIRC, AA did STL-HNL and ORD-HNL. BN did DAL-HNL/ITO. NW did SEA-HNL, PDX-HNL and TW did only LAX-HNL. TWA's flights each did SFO-LAX-HNL actually. E
29 WA707atMSP: I believe Western combatted the 747's appeal by reducing the number of seats in coach, and offering "first class legroom at coach prices" to Hawaii.
30 WA707atMSP: I agree. It looked great on every aircraft except the 727-247, on which the Indian Head scheme looked terrible. I think their 727s would have looked
31 BoeingGuy: Oh, the 727-200 was my very favorite in the old scheme. I liked the way the read band flowed on the tail. Yep, 36" pitch in coach. Can you imagine th
32 SpaceshipDC10: And Western did MSP/PHX-LAX-HNL. Funny that NW wasn't around from MSP.
33 BoeingGuy: WA also occasionally did MSP-HNL non-stop in the 1970s. I remember seeing it in the timetables.
34 WesternA318: Western was NOT in a healthy financial state after Kerkorian bought the airline. Drinkwater was brought in after he left Continental (and American) t
35 SpaceshipDC10: Another quote from the book: Inability to finance wide-bodied jets was one of the key arguments advanced in favor of the merger. [...]but as Western'
36 Viscount724: Western's service, even in Y class, on their 720Bs and 707s was excellent. I would have booked Western regardless of widebodies on their competitors.
37 BoeingGuy: What are the routes that he cut in that time frame?
38 WesternA318: Thats what I was getting at!! Thanks! Even in those days, travelers picked reliability over the "new thing". I'm gunna have to flip through the book