Couple of points you missed:
1) United will re-enter the all-freighter cargo game, perhaps with ACMI or wet-lease 747-400Fs that UA
pilots already know how to fly (differences training only). The DC-10 as a freighter was horrible, a 747 on UA
's network is a much better fit.
2) United reduced their fleet already from 8 aircraft types to five (737, A319/320, B757/767, B777, B747-400. Retired: DC-10, B727, B737-200, B747-200). Going down to four will require the elimination of one more, namely the B737 series in a few years, but that will be very gradual.
3) More Pacific flying. Expect to see more cities/routes in the Pacific, including NEW
cities and routes (Think SGN
). Also those B747s now cost the same or less than B777s, in terms of lease rates and crew costs. This makes previously unprofitable routes now able to be flown profitably.
4) Bankruptcy exit timing: There has been considerable cost reductions all across the company, including payroll, lease rates, and properties management (like gate leases). Most importantly, there has been a huge shift in the thinking among staff working at all levels. Items such as cost control, customer satisfaction, and efficiency are now on everyone's mind, and the cavalier attitude of days gone by have been largely eliminated. Additionally, operating performance has been off the charts, with more company records for on-time, completion, and mishandled bags broken in 2003 than any other year. If anything gets UA
out of bankruptcy, it will be the performance of the people working there, not Chase, JP
Morgan, and Glenn Tilton alone.
Tilton was very clear on his arrival at UA
: "The competition is not each other, but American, Northwest, and Delta. We need to beat them and not ourselves."
Measure to the millimeter, mark with a crayon, cut with an axe.