TEDSKI, if airlines were to make purchases as you are talking about, they would accumulate way too much debt. Success in the competative airline business does not nearly depend on the modernity of aircraft as most people think. Constructive and profitable route planning, marketing, ownerships, and management are far more important.
BTW, ownerships could relate to an airlines stake in hotels, travel agencies, and related firms.
Just look at the success Westjet from Canada, is having. Most of their aircraft are B737-200s. That is not to say that these aircraft not be replaced soon, however replacing perfectly good A340s and other modern aircraft would be just throwing money for no good use.
My 2 euros.
I fully agree.
Just take a quick look at SABENA. They went to a brand-new fleet in virtually no time. Out with the old, in with the new. I loved their new paintscheme, shiny new 'busses, etc. Alas, reality kicked in.
Regarding the issue of using the beefed-up 346s in place of the "underpowered CFM56-5C A340-300s, which BTW must be replaced for new 777-200ERs & A340-500/600s.", take a hard look at bookings from September all the way to May. What is the current seat factor? If no more than 200 passengers take the trip, then for an airline to keep daily service (now it is 4/7 for JFK) even the 343 is an overkill. If and when the bookings arrive, then just increase frequency to 2xdaily!
My 0.02 E.