7e72004
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Should ATA Have Kept The 727s?

Mon Oct 04, 2004 11:48 pm

I was thinking about this over the weekend and was wondering if their financial position would have been better if they had not received all of those new jets as fast as they did? Would it have helped at all if they had phased out the 727s any slower?
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MEA-707
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RE: Should ATA Have Kept The 727s?

Tue Oct 05, 2004 12:02 am

If-questions are very difficult. What if they crashed one of their 727s last year and they had a hate campaign against them in the press a la Valujet?
Well more seriously, I think with the quick turnover to 737ngs and 757s, the IFE and so they succeed in developing their network and attracting a slightly different client base then if they kept the 727s. As an intensive scheduled hub airline they definitely needed newer generation aircraft.
They might have been slightly better off til last year with the 727s but would suffer extra hard with the high fuel prices now, also the 3rd cockpitcrewmember costs lots of money. 727s Would have made more sense if you are a charter airline which makes lots of money at holiday and peak periods (shuttling cruise pax) or to stand in for an airline short of aircraft while the aircraft stand idle in a corner few days a week as well (the Champion Air model) but 737ngs are definitely cheaper on hour basis if you fly like 4 sectors/12 hours a day as ATA does. Maybe they should have gone for something in between, like picking up two dozen cheap ex US Airways 737-400s or >MD-80s.

[Edited 2004-10-04 17:05:34]
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7e72004
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RE: Should ATA Have Kept The 727s?

Tue Oct 05, 2004 12:04 am

Very true...at least get some "used jets," instead of spending money on brand new ones  Smile
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dutchjet
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RE: Should ATA Have Kept The 727s?

Tue Oct 05, 2004 12:13 am

Should ATA have kept the 727-200s - no, with a 3 person cockpit crew and 1970s standard fuel effeciency, the 727-200s had to go. I loved the 72S, one of my favorites, but its time has past.

Should ATA have bought all of those new 738/752/753 - again, the answer is no, buying so many new aircraft (at exactly the wrong time) and trying to expand operations at the same time is dangerous, especially in the current airline enviornement. ATA should have more fully explored the second hand market - 733 and 734 aircraft could fly most of the routes that the shiny new 738s fly for a fraction of the acquisition cost, and second hand 763s may have been a better and more flexible choice than the 753s......its easy being a monday morning quarterback, of course, but when airlines such as ATA convert from a charter carrier with a limited network of schedule routes flying used aircraft and quickly try to become a full scheduled carrier (taking on the big guys on major routes....did anyone really think that ATA would be successful on EWR-SFO for example against UA and CO?) with lots and lots of new aircraft, the airline is ususally headed for trouble.
 
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yyz717
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RE: Should ATA Have Kept The 727s?

Tue Oct 05, 2004 12:20 am

Given the low yield nature of their market, they should have gone for used M80's rather than new 738's.

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ATAflyer
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RE: Should ATA Have Kept The 727s?

Tue Oct 05, 2004 1:04 am

Dutchjet makes a lot of sense, that is exactly the case with the 727's...even though we had them hushkitted and they were some of the last (newer) 727's built, the cost of fuel in today's market would've been overwhelming. Don't get me wrong, I spent many hours/miles working those airplanes and loved them..they are built like a tank! But just too hungry with those 3 older-generation engines.
Since we all seem to be Monday-morning quarterbacking here, we need to keep one thing in mind: and that is ATA's gameplan was "right-on" at the time it was planned, pre-9/11...and if that hadn't happened, and with fuel costs lower, we would most definitely still be on-track! So much has been out of our control here. Fuel costs remain the primary reason why the airlines are in such trouble now...it is ALL airlines. It just seems particulary unfair that those that suffered the most from 9/11 (the airlines and their employees) still suffer today.
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MEA-707
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RE: Should ATA Have Kept The 727s?

Tue Oct 05, 2004 1:10 am

ATAFlyer: What exactly was it that Dutchjet wrote about the 727 what I didn't point out already in my earlier post?
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
 
MidnightMike
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RE: Should ATA Have Kept The 727s?

Tue Oct 05, 2004 1:34 am

Purchasing the 757 or the 737-800 would have been a wise move, but, not both and at the same time. The crew training alone would kill any airline.
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N1120A
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RE: Should ATA Have Kept The 727s?

Tue Oct 05, 2004 5:24 am

They actually were getting 752s way before 9/11. They also probably got good deals for launching the 738WL and the 753 in North America. What happened to ATA is what happened to other airlines, they got hit by lower demand. They have actually turned profits, just not enough to cover their back loaded debt service. They are illiquid, not insolvent, and banks would be wise to give them some time, as they will be able to pay if they have the craft to keep their lucrative charter contracts
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7e72004
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RE: Should ATA Have Kept The 727s?

Tue Oct 05, 2004 5:26 am

THere seem to be an awful lot of more "recent" aircraft stored in the desert...it seems like it would have been more economical to go there. How many of the new planes did ATA have before 9/11?
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N1120A
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RE: Should ATA Have Kept The 727s?

Tue Oct 05, 2004 5:33 am

Again, these planes were comming before 9/11. In fact, most of them came before then. They had a very fast delivery schedule and it bit them. Then again, that was unforeseeable
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greasespot
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RE: Should ATA Have Kept The 727s?

Tue Oct 05, 2004 7:58 pm

Most new aircraft purchases INCLUDE crew training so that would not kill an airline.

Greasespot
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CaptOveur
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RE: Should ATA Have Kept The 727s?

Tue Oct 05, 2004 9:39 pm

Having actually been on an ATA 727 They had to go. They smelled like they had been hauling cattle and they looked like hell. I know appearances say nothing about an airplanes safety or reliability but if the plane looks like hell it is something people remember long after their flight.

The new 737s were nice, but I still say nice airplanes don't fix what I thought to be an otherwise crappy airline.
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lat41
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RE: Should ATA Have Kept The 727s?

Tue Oct 05, 2004 10:02 pm

It has happened to other airlines in the past. Try to grow too fast, borrow too much money for too many new aircraft, hire too many new people, enter too many new unproven markets all at once or try to slug it out with the big boys and what happens? Get in big financial trouble and have to retrench or crash and burn altogether. Other airlines are doing it right now? What carriers come to mind today?
 
luv2fly
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RE: Should ATA Have Kept The 727s?

Tue Oct 05, 2004 10:10 pm

Would the cost of replacing the interiors of the 727's been less than adding the new planes, yes. Also would the cost of operating these gas guzzlers, which had no monthly lease payment, been less than the new planes? Most likely. Hindsight is always 20/20. What we have here IMHO is a series of bad choices. No one thing is to blame on the current situation at ATA/TZ
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7e72004
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RE: Should ATA Have Kept The 727s?

Tue Oct 05, 2004 10:38 pm

I think Midway #1 made a bad choice when they bought 8 gates and 16 DC-9s from Eastern at PHL.
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