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747SP-A Good Deal?

Mon Mar 06, 2000 8:18 am

For a new airline (US-based) starting out with long-haul routes over the Pacific, would the 747SP be a good choice for an aircraft, seating 260 in Economy, and 20 in First/Business class? The purchase price for these planes is between $12-15 million, and based upon 280 seats, only 196 seats would have to be sold for a 70% load factor. Truly, is an SP *THAT* inneficient of an aircraft?!

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RE: 747SP-A Good Deal?

Mon Mar 06, 2000 8:22 am

You can buy them for a price as low $ 7 000 000..
Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
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RE: 747SP-A Good Deal?

Mon Mar 06, 2000 2:01 pm

For a starting airline, I'd say it would be a pretty good by. Nowaday's they can't compare with 747-400s, but if you haven't got that many people - which starting airlines probably don't - and want to go a great distance, it would probably be a worth-while investment, especially at such low prices.
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RE: 747SP-A Good Deal?

Mon Mar 06, 2000 2:28 pm

Are there that many airworthy SPs left in the market for any venture of that sort?
I've flown on 9V-SPK.
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RE: 747SP-A Good Deal?

Mon Mar 06, 2000 5:31 pm

well in fact there are many still airworthy, i definetly know about the 2 of Syrian Air (RB).

Starting an airline with the SP? i quess it would be too risky. Though the price is very tempting i still wouldn't do it:
1. Fuel Comsumption is as worse as a russian plane, simply too much in todays marktes

2. If at all it should be deployed at ultra long routes, so the target group will be rather limited or at least not easy to get from a pure point to point operation thus you will need feeder service which you can get by agreeing with other airlines on certain SPA agreements, this will be difficult again due to your rather 'poor' product because of an old plane.

3. What will i do if the routes runs well and then after some years when the good old SP must be retiered i will need a new airplane which will be way more expensive.

What i might consider is to buy this SP and turn it into a VIP plane to be sold to some VIP's in the Gulf Region who simply don't care about the high operational cost involved, they just want to say: iam flying a Jumbo !

Take care
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RE: 747SP-A Good Deal?

Mon Mar 06, 2000 5:51 pm

I wouldn't do it. Too many start-ups with only some selected Intercontinental flights (Metro International, USAfrica) come readily into mind. And remember America West almost flipped on its Hawaii jumbo's.... and Tower Air...
The intercontinental market is quite competitive... with so many "good" airlines who will make profit with their first class and dump some tickets below costprice, you'd guess you -without a frequent flyer system etc- can never cut their prices.
I bet you'd make a better profit with some shorter routes in underserved area's without low-cost airlines.
Especially the US market and publicity is very conscious about "old" planes, you'd work twice as hard as normally to comply with FAA regulations, and you will read about a minor failure (lets say a blown tyre) alarming headlines about your old rattletraps.
Maintenance is also expensive because there are no other civil SP operators left in the US.
Fuel prices are very high now, it might take sense if it gets back on the low levels of 2 years ago.
The 74SPs engines are noisy, so you'll get restrictions on some airports, maybe on night-flights, making your scheduling less flexible.
A cockpitcrew of 3 is way more expensive...
Good luck ;-))
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?

RE: 747SP-A Good Deal?

Tue Mar 07, 2000 12:42 am

If they where good cheap running airplanes the airlines would have them! They require a TON of work and drink fuel like no other!
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RE: 747SP-A Good Deal?

Tue Mar 07, 2000 10:42 am

If I were to do a route like that, I'd personally pick up some B767-2/300ERs or maybe even some of CP's now retired DC-10-30ERs.
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RE: 747SP-A Good Deal?

Tue Mar 07, 2000 10:56 am

The main thing about using the SP's is the use of PTV's. The DC-10's would be great planes to use, but in Economy, the airline wouldn't be able to have PTV's at each seat, as the oxygen masks are installed in the seat infront, and moving them to the overhead bins would be a bit [a very large bit] of a hassle.

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RE: 747SP-A Good Deal?

Tue Mar 07, 2000 12:08 pm

A lot of DC-10s had their oxygen masks moved from the seats a long time ago. Does anyone know how many? 747SPs, as much as I like them, would probably be too expensive to operate by a start up airline. 747 maintenance is very expensive and you would have to hire an expensive flight crew. I think that the market for this plane has dried up, and the plane is worth more as spare parts than as a whole. The scrapping of the ex-UA planes is proof of that. And aside from Bill Gates, I dont think there is much of a market for SP Exec Jets anymore.
This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.

RE: 747SP-A Good Deal?

Tue Mar 07, 2000 12:14 pm

If I started my own airline I would take on as many 747SPs as I can. They have longer range than the standard size 747-200B by about 450 miles and safer than a DC-10 series 30.

RE: 747SP-A Good Deal?

Tue Mar 07, 2000 12:52 pm

There was a British company called Chess International Aviation that was to buy one or two SPs and fit them out with VIP interior and offer these on world wide charter flights. This was a couple of years back, but am not sure on the current status of the company.

QF still operates the SP, and even used them on domestic flights, as well as some international flights, although they are currently looking at retiring these.

Other airlines to still operate the SP include South Africa, Syrian Arab, Air China, Iran Air, Iraqi Airways (when they are operational), Air Gulf Falcon, Corsair. I know that various oil sheikhs use SPs in their VIP fleet, including Dubai Air Wing, Abu Dhabi Air Wing, Bahrain Rulers' Flight, Royal Omani Air Wing, Saudi Arabian Airlines VIP Flight. Are there any other operators of the SP out there at all?

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