Maersk ponders future of CRJ fleet
Victoria Moores, London (19Apr04)
Danish carrier Maersk Air is mulling the future its five Bombardier CRJ regional jets, as the introduction of a new product concept pushes it towards expanding its Boeing 737-700 fleet.
A ten-strong Boeing 737-700 fleet currently forms the backbone of Maersk’s charter and scheduled operations. It operates four Bombardier CRJ200 regional jets on short and medium-haul links, while a fifth acts as a back-up aircraft. Maersk has ten Boeing 737-500s, mainly on lease to other operators.
As competition in the Scandinavian market intensifies, Maersk has recently revamped and simplified its product; dividing its cabin by seat pitch to offer small, medium, large and extra large products, based on the cabin layout of the Boeing 737-700.
Newly introduced one-way fares in each class are based on a flat fee to upgrade from the ‘small’ tariff. Set fees now apply for changes, cancellations and all booking amendments.
Speaking at a press briefing in London today Maersk director sales and marketing Anne Von Glasow says: “The low cost entry into the market means that the yield is dropping – something had to be done.
“Some [carriers] are doomed not to survive in the future - in the Nordic market maybe three airlines will survive.”
The new product, launched on 28 March, has nearly quadrupled weekly booking levels, and is “going brilliantly,” according to Glasow. Maersk launched 12 new destinations at the start of the month and is poised to add a further ten this winter.
“We have leased a lot of aircraft and we are knocking at the door to get them back. We think that by introducing this new concept we will get the need for capacity up,” says Glasow. “We need more equipment for the winter season.”
She says the carrier is currently seeking further Boeing 737-700s to add to the fleet, and adds “we wants to get rid of [the CRJs] because they have a much higher cost per unit than Boeing”.
But a Maersk spokesman stresses the CRJ project “is not finalised,” adding that several options for the CRJ fleet are being evaluated.
Under the revamp Maersk has increased aircraft utilisation – up from 2,200 flight hours per year to 3,500 – leading to the re-employment of pilots and cabin crew, which were hit by cut backs two years ago.
While the majority of Maersk’s scheduled services operate on the Boeing 737-700, it still deploys Boeing 737-500s to the Faroe Islands because of operating restrictions which preclude the 737-700 on the routes. But Maersk says that it is working with Boeing on the issue and will use the -700 “as soon as we have solved the Faroe Island challenge”.
Source: ATI news
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein