I agree completely with Vafi88 and RayChuang, UAL is not going to purchase 773s anytime soon.
The 747-400s do not need to be replaced ILUV767.
In terms of capacity, you say UAL's current 744s have less seats then a factory
773. What's your point? Then, you say that if United were to operate the 773, it would still have less capacity than the 744. Why lower capacity at all on United's busy Asian routes?????
The 773ER (not 773) would provide United with enough range to do trans-pacific crossings.
747-400 Range: 7,325 nautical miles (13,570 km)
Range: 7,250 nautical miles (13,430 km)
(DIRECT FROM WWW.BOEING.COM
All I have to say regarding that sentence.
Some other factor's that promote the 773ER, and the ellimination of the 744 are:
-reduced fleet type (747)
-increased cargo capacity
-flight deck common with 772
-lower pay scales for pilots (777 wages, not 744 wages)
-route flexability and equipment swaping with 772s
Now, some of these might be correct I'll give you that. But I'm telling you, if you weren't so baised on the 777, you'd see how the 773 and 744 are very much different aircraft. Look at CX, SQ, ect, they seem to be doing very well with the two types of the planes in their fleet, don't they? Can United do the same? Probably so.
With the 773ER, and the 772ER or even 772LR, the role of the 747 is no longer important. You can carry the same amount or more passengers with the 777s flying on the same routes. The airline spends less on each flight, than they would on 744 flights, and as a result of these lower costs, more money can be kept in terms of revenue.
The role of the 747 is not important anymore if there are 777s you say? WRONG.
The 777 cannot do a 744s job, GET IT STRAIGHT.
Sure, the 777s could carry as much as 744s, if you make the seats the size for babies!
The airlines would spend more money on a 744, but they would also get higher income from the flight than the 777. (if both flights are full)
After all that, I still don't see why you have such a problem with the 747-400 with United. It is very modern, efficient, and it serves United well. If United sold all their 744s, they would be very lucky to get half the money it would take to buy new 773s from Boeing. You are so much in love with the 777, that you don't see that, United would lose so much money "replacing" 744s with 773s, even if it saves them a little having a reduced fleet type, on maintenence, etc, but not flights. It's not going to happen.