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Why Did AA Abandon 747's?

Sat Jul 15, 2000 10:25 am

Why did AA abandon 747's? I flew an AA 747 HNL-DFW non-stop back in 1981. They still had a coach lounge in the back (although the seats were assigned those pple who got those seats were LUCKY!!! Four seats that swiveled around a small round lounge table) Anyhow...why did they stop flying 747's? Because they bought the DC-10..uhhh i mean..ummmm...MD-11??? Yeah they are sorry 'bout those purchases now.....
 
Triple Seven
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Joined: Fri Apr 07, 2000 10:04 pm

RE: Why Did AA Abandon 747's?

Sat Jul 15, 2000 10:40 am

I know that in 1980 AA still had up to 16 747-123s (correct me if i'm wrong). The 747s proved too costly to fly for AAs route which was more suited with the likes of the DC-10s. The coach lounge you still saw in the back is a strong indication that AA could not fill up the seats on the 747s. Remember that the '70s oil crisis made a considerable amount of airlines to dump their 747s or to cramp in as many seats as possible. AA got rid of the 747s rapidly by the early '80s however they continued to fly a pair of 747SPs all the way till the early '90s.

- Triple Seven
 
Guest

RE: Why Did AA Abandon 747's?

Sat Jul 15, 2000 10:54 am

Well United kept flying them as well as Northwest and others....so still really doesn't explain why AA got rid of 747's....they flew to Hawaii, and they started international service about the same time United did....United and others kept 747's AA didn't. So I ask for a better answer...anyone? (thank you triple seven   )
 
Guest

RE: Why Did AA Abandon 747's?

Sat Jul 15, 2000 11:30 am

AA only had the SP which cost a lot more to run. The DC-10 and 767 where much better for and cheaper to run so they could make more money that is why the got rid of them!
Iain
 
AAR90
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RE: Why Did AA Abandon 747's?

Sat Jul 15, 2000 11:33 am

There is no "better answer" because AA retired the 747s as a cost cutting measure. From the book EAGLE: The Story of American Airlines come the following...

"Airlines, of course, don't measure flight equipment with the same ruler a passenger uses. American had to start phasing out its flying hotels for the same reason it began disposing of its earthbound hotels: it couldn't make any money with them. To an airline with American's route structure, the DC-10 simply was a more versatile and viable aircraft. The 747 couldn't be used on anything but high-density Caribbean routes like New York-San Juan and the transcontinental nonstop market. The DC-10 could serve those same markets, yet was equally efficient on segments like New York-Dalls, New York-Chicago, and Chicago-Los Angeles."

When you say AA began flying internationally about the same time as UA, recall that AA's international flying was a single DFW-LGW flight. UA purchased Pan Am's entire Pacific Division -- lock, stock and multiple 747s (and my dad).
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
 
desertjets
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RE: Why Did AA Abandon 747's?

Sat Jul 15, 2000 12:07 pm

Many airlines that began operating the 747 early on that lacked intercontinental routes were hurting as well. Remeber Delta had 747s but very few transcons and no international service. Even Pan Am and TWA were hurt when the oil crisises and recessions hit in the 70s with their large 747 fleets. While UA had a fairly large 747-122 fleet until the accquisition of the Pan Am Pacific division they had more of a transcon route structure plus the Hawaii routes to better support the jumbos.

As an interesting side note UA dumped about 6 or 8 of their 122's when they picked up Pan Am's pacific routes plus the 11 -SP's and 6 L-1011-500's only to a few years later pick up 5 ex American 747-123's... which were about the same age as the -122's they unloaded.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
LH423
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RE: Why Did AA Abandon 747's?

Sat Jul 15, 2000 1:19 pm

I guess they figured that if you have to put a piano in coach, than maybe you shoud find a plane better suited to your needs. Plus these were bought when PanAm still ruled the international routes. Back then, American 747 users, put these planes on busy, domestic routes like JFK-LAX/SFO, and LAX-HNL. When CAB disintegrated, and airlines were able to freely choose their destinations, both domestically, and abroad. However, PanAm was still the premier airline to fly internationally, and the airlines realised that it was nearly impossible to fill these planes, and maintain profitable yields. By the time the PanAm empire crumbled, airlines other than Northwest (which had had it's Pacific empire carved out for decades by then), bagan to fill PanAm's shoes. But, PanAm collapsed after American got rid of their 747's. The MD-11's were already on order. Plus, PanAm got split up like this: Delta, got domestic, and European divisions, United got the Asia/Pacific divisions, and American got the Latin American divisions (where mighty PanAm got it's start!), plus LHR slots. As American and Delta didn't need to cover the distances that necessitated 747-400, they went for the MD-11. Plus Delta got PanAm's A310's. United, who got the Pacific rights, needed an aeroplane to cover PanAm's West Coast-Australia flights, plus other long range flights, like JFK-NRT. United got PanAm's 747's, L-1011's, and 747SP's. Northwest, having the largest trans-Pacific operation of any airline also needed an aeroplane to cover flights like Australia, and MSP-HKG.

So it really wasn't abandonment, but rather American realising they had an aeroplane they couldn't fly profitably. They found a better mate in the MD-11, and now the 777.

LH423
« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
 
ctbarnes
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And To Add...

Sat Jul 15, 2000 1:27 pm

American briefly leased two 747SP's (I think from United) when they inheritied the SEA-NRT route from Continental in the late 80's. They had no aircraft in their fleet which could cover the distance until they took delivery of their MD-11's. Once they received them, the 747's were returned.

Charles
The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
 
LH423
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Ctbarnes

Sat Jul 15, 2000 11:25 pm

The 747SP's American got were actually from TWA. As you mentioned, SEA-NRT, they were also common in DFW on the Tokyo flight from there. I have abook with an AA 747SP taking off from DFW, it really is strange to see the American logo on that plane.

LH423
« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
 
Guest

RE: Why Did AA Abandon 747's?

Sun Jul 16, 2000 12:19 am

I remember back in the late 70s early 80s where there was an exchange of aircraft between American and Pan Am. After Pan Am bought out National, they inherited their DC-10s, so they got together with American and discussed trading American's 747-100s to Pan Am in exchange for Pan Am's DC-10s. So I believe this was part of the reason why they got rid of their 747-100s and now have a large fleet of DC-10s.
 
AAR90
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RE: Why Did AA Abandon 747's?

Sun Jul 16, 2000 12:29 am

>Plus, PanAm got split up like this:
>Delta, got domestic, and European divisions,

Actually nobody got domestic since it was already deregulated.
DL purchased European Division with exception of LHR ops since that was already sold to UA in seperate deal.

>...United got the Asia/Pacific divisions,

UA purchased Pacific Division in 1985. First of the PA divisions to be sold.

>...and American got the Latin American divisions
>(where mighty PanAm got it's start!), plus LHR slots.

American purchased Eastern's Latin American operations, not PA's. AA's LHR ops were purchased from TWA. UA purchased PA's LHR ops.

Andy
ex-PA "brat"
and proud of it.  

Pan Am, the airline that made United #1
(best t-shirt I own).  
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
 
B747-437B
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RE: Why Did AA Abandon 747's?

Sun Jul 16, 2000 1:47 am

Just curious, but what happened to Pan Am's Latin American routes? I know that American bought Eastern's routes who in turn had acquired them from Braniff, but I am not quite clear about the PA routes.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
ContinentalEWR
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RE: Why Did AA Abandon 747's?

Sun Jul 16, 2000 2:32 am

When American operated the 747 (it operated the
747-100), it was not the mega carrier it is today.
American was formerly based in New York, was a
big money looser immediately after deregulation,
and did not have the fortress hubs it has today.
The 747's were expensive to operate due to the
high cost of fuel at the time and the lack of a
decent enough feed to fill them.

American acquired two 747-SP's from TWA in
order to operate the DFW-NRT and then the
SEA-NRT route it acquired from Continental.
The 747-SP's were replaced on these routes
with the MD11. The two 747-SP's operated
from JFK to Heathrow in 1991, until the 767
-300 and MD11's were deployed on the
route.

Most of American's 747-100's went to TWA
and other carriers.

ContinentalEWE
 
ctbarnes
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RE: Why Did AA Abandon 747's?

Sun Jul 16, 2000 6:38 am

Thanks for the clarification. I forgot TWA had 747SP's for a while. BTW, does AA still run the DFW-NRT route?

Charles
The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
 
Purdue Arrow
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RE: Why Did AA Abandon 747's?

Sun Jul 16, 2000 6:48 am

Yeah, American still operates DFW-NRT, now with a 777.
 
fanofjets
Posts: 1977
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2000 2:26 am

RE: Why Did AA Abandon 747's?

Sun Jul 16, 2000 8:05 am

The withdrawal of American Airlines's 747s was gradual, starting in around 1974 (the year of the first fuel crisis). At that time, AA, United, and Delta were largely domestic carriers; only such routes as JFK-LGA and SFO-HNL were long enough to be economical for the four-engined jumbo. Even TWA, which had trans-Atlantic routes, sold off several of their 747-131s (only to replace them in the 1980s with second-hand examples from British Airways and other carriers once they had sufficient volume). As AAR90 said, the DC-10 was more versatile, being designed for medium- to long-haul routes.

As for the lounges, these were aboard many airlines' widebody airliners. I remember flying TWA and United 747s in the early 1970s; both had lounges in the area just behind the first class section. Most 747s at that time also had nine-abreast (3-4-2) seating. Again, around 1974, just as airlines were dispensing with their economy-class lounges (or jumbo fleets altogether), the current ten-abreast seating came into fashion.

Most of the -123s that were sold off were converted to freighters for such carriers as Trans Mediterranean Airlines (remember that yellow and green color scheme?), including the example that starred in Airport '75. Another famous -123 became NASA's first shuttle carrier. One example that enjoyed a long career as a passenger airliner flew for Virgin Atlantic. Named Spirit of Sir Freddie, the plane was scrapped in the late 1990s.
The aeroplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
 
fanofjets
Posts: 1977
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2000 2:26 am

RE: Why Did AA Abandon 747's?

Sun Jul 16, 2000 9:23 am

Oops! I forgot something (as if my previous post wasn't long enough already).

Let's remember that in the early 1970s the 747 was truly revolutionary; aside from being a giant passenger carrier, it was a status symbol for the airlines (and their nations) that flew it. Pan Am set the stage by ordering a batch even before the prototype made her maiden flight. The flying public might perceive an airline not flying the jumbo as being less experienced or forward-thinking. I wonder whether that will be the case with the A3XX, but I'll save that for another thread.

I also want to add that two airlines serving small European countries came up with a different idea: KLM and SABENA decided that the space being occupied by unsold seats (especially in the off season) could accommodate cargo. Working with Boeing, the two airlines introduced the Combi.

The aeroplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
 
trintocan
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RE: Why Did AA Abandon 747's?

Sun Jul 16, 2000 5:17 pm

B747-437B, United bought Pan Am's Latin American routes in 1991. Those routes were the last that PA operated, along with Caribbean operations. UA took over the routes shortly after PA's demise but opted against taking over the Caribbean operations. Those Latin American routes remain in service today.

 
Trintocan.
Hop to it, fly for life!
 
ctbarnes
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RE: Why Did AA Abandon 747's?

Wed Jul 19, 2000 1:14 pm

Forgot to mention...

My first trip on a 747 was with American Airlines LAX-JFK in June of 1971. There was one of those lounges in the back, and I was only 10 years old at the time, I remember being blown away by the plane's size. The food, as I remember, was lousy though (that's saying a lot-I'd eat anything back then).

Although still large, I just can't fathom how they got a lounge in the back of that plane. I guess everything seems so much bigger when you're small.

Charles
The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
 
akelley728
Posts: 1964
Joined: Tue Dec 07, 1999 12:35 pm

RE: Why Did AA Abandon 747's?

Wed Jul 19, 2000 11:07 pm

It will be interesting to see if the AA/NW deal goes through - we might see 747-400s in AA colors yet!

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