ERJ145LR
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Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 1:11 am

So last year i was in FRA, we were comming in from IAD, and connecting to Madrid on an A321-100/200. So there was something wrong with our plane. They took us off, abd bussed us to another identical plane just sitting around on the ramp. It obviously had not been used all day cuz it was about 30 degrees in the cabin. My question is why does lufthansa have dozens of planes juat sitting around in FRA. I wish the US airlines would do that. It was so nice to not be dealyed, and to be able to just hop on another vacant plane and make our way to madrid. This just seemed a bit odd to me!
 
A350
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 1:20 am

It seems to me that this is one of the major differences between a quality airline and a LCC.

A350
 
kkfla737
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 1:23 am

Every time I've been through Frankfurt in the last several years I've noticed about 5-7 LH planes sitting on the runway of different fleet types. I assumed they were there for maintence, but maybe they are just spares!
 
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solnabo
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 1:28 am

Erj-145:

**Welcome to Europe and quality / on-time carriers**

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miaskies
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 1:28 am

Well I don't know about any other US Majors and Other Major US Hubs but in MIA for example AA always has a at least 2 or 3 spare aircraft I have seen it for myself and it has been confirmed to me by AA employees at MIA. Anywhere from a spare 763ER to 772 to A300-600R etc.

Good topic....
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flyinTLow
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 1:44 am

Hey there,

i would definitly not say their planes just sit around the tarmac all day round. Normally they are in the air a whole lot, not more than an hour turn-around. But on the other hand, FRA is their hub. Its not a problem for LH to re-assign one of their planes of the same type to a different destination if they see an airplane is coming in late, and another one just got out of the hangar after some maintenance. But i am sure every airline in the world is capable of doing so, and handles it accordingly...
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A350
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 1:51 am

What I don't understand, however, is, why LH didn't keep one or two A310 as "backup" planes. They are much cheaper, and while sitting around they don't have operation costs.

A350
 
NumberTwelve
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 2:03 am

Erj, very simple: FRA is LH's most important airport and sometimes they have a little time to relax  Wink/being sarcastic - kidding. I think it just looks like "hanging around" but they are involved in route network - if you see them at the western part of the airport (Hangar 3 or 5 or totally left), there is maintenance and cargo - also there are planes parked which have longer stay (f.e. Air Namibia, South African and - Number1 in lazy birds in FRA: Qantas 744).
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cgagn
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 2:42 am

Flying past the BA hangers at Heathrow, there are usually 7 or 8 744s parked on the tarmac. Are these just waiting for maintenance, or are they spares. I'm guessing with 50 some 744s in the fleet, they must have a few spares lying around LHR just in case.

C-GAGN
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DAYflyer
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 3:00 am

US legacy or LCC do not have spares lying around waiting to be used. It is inefficient in the US business mindset. The cannot afford to have non-revenue producing aircraft sitting around; idle airplanes don't make you money.
I wish the would at least have 1 or 2 at each hub though.

Although I can't see that wokring very well here with UAL or AA hubs at ORD; it's just too crowded and you can't lose a minute or you miss your t/o slot.
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ERJ145LR
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 3:12 am

Yeah, i mean at ord there is never a plane sitting at a gate for more than an hour or so. They are always on the move at ORD. Never seen a spare laying around there!
 
NumberTwelve
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 4:14 am

Erj145, it depends at what time you are in FRA and at which terminal. When i pass the airport at the autobahn at 8 am, I still see the QF 744 (arrival at about 5.30) - but normally planes will be towed away soon and parked at the western part of the airport.
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IslandHopperCO
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 4:29 am

Aren't Lufthansa and BA still state-run (i.e. "socialized") airlines? I may be mistaken on this if they have been privatized. Are they required to report their aircraft utilization rates and turnaround times? It would be interesting to see how far behind state-run European airlines are compared to American LCCs (like Southwest) in aircraft utilization. That is if they are in fact still state-run with no accountability to shareholders.

[Edited 2005-01-12 20:30:29]

[Edited 2005-01-12 20:33:08]
 
Flying-Tiger
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 4:40 am

@IslandhopperCO: Now ask yourself about how well you´re informed.. LH and BA have been privatized 10 years ago... They have to report to their respective stakeholders.

LH has systemwide around 5-7 planes as back-ups - to cover delays, to have back-ups for mechanical problems etc. As FRA is their major hub in Germany it is simple logic that most back-ups have been asigned here to.
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trident2e
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 4:55 am

Kkfla737 - wow, Frankfurt even has spare runways to park LH's planes on!
 
123
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 5:48 am

It´s not only a matter of spares aircraft. It´s a matter of being able to switch quickly to a larger aircraft, when demand jumps up unexpectedly, which is why sometimes you get a 744 FRA/Berlin. Or switch down when suddenly load factors are down.

I understand LH has a special computer system to calculate last-minute pax loads, and thus aircraft switches. That is why for instance instead of getting the expected A321 you can get an A319 (same crew!), or vice-versa.
 
Birdwatching
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 5:56 am

Hahaha Kkfla737! They park them on the runways! Thank you for giving me the laugh of the day! (And I do laugh a lot)
All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
 
Lindy
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 6:07 am

I had last minute switch at FRA in October. We supposed to fly on A321 but they switched it to A319. I believe we had no empty seat on 319.

US legacy or LCC do not have spares lying around waiting to be used. It is inefficient in the US business mindset. The cannot afford to have non-revenue producing aircraft sitting around; idle airplanes don't make you money.

Yeah, but US legacy and LCC have money to pay for storage on the desert.
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uswyjer
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 6:18 am

Just as an experience I had when waiting for a flight in CLT a few weeks back. One US 737-300 went mechanical that was supposed to fly to BOS, there was another 737 that was sitting a gate just down the concourse, and the Boston flight was switched to that one, instead of waiting out a long delay. Another US 737-300 was delayed coming in that was supposed to turn around and fly up to GSO, instead of waiting out the delay, the GSO flight was put on another 737 that was sitting idle at another gate. So at least from this I guess it can also be the time of day you're at the airport, whether an airline can easily juggle planes around or not.
 
Flying-Tiger
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 6:22 am

@Lindy: That´s quite common for LH. Simply yield management - having the A319,320 and 321 is quite an advantage for them. Whatever suits the passenger load best is used - I had it on a scheduled flight from BRE to FRA on an A319, and ended up on an A321, simply because on this special flight the demand was so high. Having a high-end booking and yield management makes it easy to predict how many passengers will fly on this special flight, and assigning a bigger plane to this by changing i.e. a back-up A321 against an operation A320 might bring in quite a bit of extra money - on this special flight and possibly a connection flight. A back-up is needed anyway, so why not use it efficently to enhance yields?
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ORDagent
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 6:42 am

I have seen at ORD both AA and UA do have spares as do most US carriers at their major hubs. Aircraft are cycled through the systems and sometimes are put out for a day or so. When I worked INTL departures at ORD for AA we pulled a 767 or much more likely an MD-11 from the hanger ramp when the scheduled bird got sick.
 
jetblueatjfk
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 6:56 am

When I flew LGA-DTW on Spirit this summer the plane that we were supposed to take had something wrong with it so they put us on the next plane that came in and had the people that were supposed to fly on that plane take ours after it was fixed which actually ended up being as we pulled out. Sometimes just a little change can work too.

jetBlueAtJFK
 
texdravid
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 7:04 am

I guarantee you that if a LH plane broke down in ORD, DFW, IAH, or any U.S. airport, you wouldn't just be moving over into a spare.

Your situation is unique because it happened at the airlines hub airport.
Consider yourself lucky!!
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jfrworld
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 9:17 am

"Aren't Lufthansa and BA still state-run (i.e. "socialized") airlines? I may be mistaken on this if they have been privatized. Are they required to report their aircraft utilization rates and turnaround times? It would be interesting to see how far behind state-run European airlines are compared to American LCCs (like Southwest) in aircraft utilization. That is if they are in fact still state-run with no accountability to shareholders."

Thank you IslandhopperCO - you stole my words. It isn't cost effective to have spare aircraft just "sitting" around. Ask any airline that is making a profit whether or not they have spare aircraft just sitting around and I'll bet they'd call you crazy.
 
dc10tim
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 9:33 am

Actually BA are a wholly private enterprise. They are listed on the London stock exchange and receive no state funding at all.

Tim.
Obviously missing something....
 
flyyul
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 12:36 pm

JFRWORLD,

Thank god you dont work for an airline... that was a real genius post there bud  Big grin

 
trex8
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 12:55 pm

If you want to see a bunch of planes "sitting around", go to HKG and look at all the CX planes there or SIN and the SQ planes there. Oops, sorry, I guess those carriers are inefficient and non profitable! If only all the airlines were even a fraction as inefficient and non profitable as those 2!
 
globetrekker
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 1:57 pm

Air France and KLM switch airplanes often. For instance a friend of mine recently flew SXM-CDG-AMS.

AT CDG he was scheduled to fly an A319. But the previous CDG-AMS service (by AF-KL) was xxld. So they made a switch and put an A321 to fly. That way they could take on the other pax from the xxld flight. Very efficient if you ask me.

GlobeTrekker
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jfrworld
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 2:45 pm

"Thank god you dont work for an airline... that was a real genius post there bud"

You're right... and I still have a job, too.
 
burnsie28
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 3:01 pm

US airlines dont do it, why, becuase an aircraft that is not in the air is not making any money  Big grin
 
Goldenshield
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 3:01 pm

It makes perfect sense to have spares at hubs or maintainance bases. Most likely, they are waiting to be trown back on the line, and the swap that takes place puts it in on that other aircraft's line. However, if you expect a spare aircraft at every out-station,then you are out of luck. Sure, the plane that came in broken is going to leave, but it's not going with passengers.
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fraT
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 6:32 pm

As said LH (like every other major carrier) has more or less spare A/C at their hubs. In LH's case they are swapping the equipment on the flights within Germany and Europe a lot. It's a different story with longhaul flights. As LH is short on widebodies there's not always a replacement when a flight is delayed.
 
mozart
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 7:08 pm

I can confirm that LH does have spare planes based at FRA and MUC. I believe it is 1, max. 2, in MUC. Don't know how many in FRA. It was announced a couple of months back when LH announced an initiative to increase punctuality. One of the measures was to have ping-pong, i.e. planes only go back and forth between two airports; the other was to have spare planes in MUC and FRA.

Now, I don't know whether "having spare planes" means having an airframe waiting in the garage to be pulled out only in situation of need, or whether the fleet planning is merely done in such a way as to always have one backup at the peak times at those hub airports. I believe it is the latter, because
a) LH is smarter Jfrworld, i.e. they don't bum an airframes utilisation to near-zero levels by having it wait for an emergency
b) the principle explained by Flying-Tiger and some others - i.e. of swithcing equipment the very last minute - is only ´possible by having an extreme flexibility in the fleet planning. It is this flexibility which makes it possible to always have a backup somewhere

As to Jfrworld "Ask any airline that is making a profit whether or not they have spare aircraft just sitting around and I'll bet they'd call you crazy"

LH and BA have been profitable for almost every year over the past ten-year period. I am not sure LH and BA would like to use the Chapter 11-airlines like US and UA - with their slums in the air that they call airline service - as their role models. They figured that reliability is a major selling point, and selling helps to generate revenue, which helps to stay out of bankruptcy...

Kudos to LH for so much "intelligent" planning of their resources. In terms of operational efficiency, I always admired LH.
 
Carpethead
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Thu Jan 13, 2005 7:54 pm

There are UA aircraft always sitting around the maintenance yards at both SFO & ORD whenever I travel through. At SFO, there's at least one 744, one 777, plus a couple of 737s on the northwest corner. It's hard to see the idle aircraft at ORD from the terminal but there are always a number of UA & AA parked behind the hangers on the northwest side of the airport.
I am sure the same can be said of all the major airlines at their each respective hubs.

The one airline I have hardly ever seen aircraft sitting idle is Southwest Airlines. I am sure there are a handful of operational spares sitting within their network, but where? Even with their large ops out of LAX, PHX or MDW, there are never aircraft sitting around. Those 737s are always on the go. DAL maybe?

 
johnnybgoode
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Fri Jan 14, 2005 12:57 am

i can confirm what Mozart just said. indeed, LH does have some reserve aircraft at FRA and MUC, as does CityLine at those airports and CGN.
and in many cases, one spare aircraft is broken up into, let´s say, an A321 in the morning, later it´s an A320 and so on. so it´s one unit that is used as a cover, but it doesn't have to be physically the same aircraft.

usually, airlines tend to differentiate between several kinds of reserve aircraft, e.g. operation reserve, punctuality reserve. now don´t ask me the exact difference.

i´m pretty sure such schemes are in place in most larger airlines, including in the USA and possibly even LCCs (as a fact, Virgin Blue does have such a scheme).
although aircraft sitting idle only cost but don´t earn money, in the case of major delays or a sudden AOG throwing in such a reserve aircraft might save the airline lots of money because they can prevent further disruptions of operations or delays cascading through your network which can be very expensive.
this is especially important at hub airports.

it´s also an image thing since the airline can now avoid cancelling flights and major delays which it certainly doesn't want because it pisses off the passenger.

so i think in the end, such spare aircraft do save a lot of money.

cheers
daniel
If only pure sweetness was offered, why's this bitter taste left in my mouth.
 
Goldenshield
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Fri Jan 14, 2005 4:13 am

It still takes time getting that plane ready for flight, I.E., finding an aircraft to swap with; preparing the release; bringing said aircraft to the boarding area. Often times, the time it takes to do that exceeds the time it would take to fix the plane -- especially at busy hubs like ORD.
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racko
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Fri Jan 14, 2005 6:42 am

"US airlines dont do it, why, becuase an aircraft that is not in the air is not making any money"

I doubt any US legacy carrier is in a position to tell any other airline how to make money...maybe instead they should look at other airlines and learn how to run an international airline without burning money like firewood.
 
NumberTwelve
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RE: Lufthansa..planes Just Sitting Around

Fri Jan 14, 2005 7:19 pm

Burnsie28: "US airlines dont do it, why, becuase an aircraft that is not in the air is not making any money ."

So I think I should write a mail to LH CEO asap, maybe he doesn't know that.

Racko, well said! LH needn't get information from any US carrier how to earn money.

Some airlines have parked planes as a sort of backup, others "park" their planes in the desert and put some paint on it not to show how desloate their financial status is.

[Edited 2005-01-14 11:22:12]
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