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1337Delta764
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Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Thu Sep 27, 2007 1:57 am

I have been wondering why the 737-400 was not a very popular aircraft with U.S.-based airlines. Globally, a total of 486 737-400s have been delivered, which suprisingly is more than the number of 737-500s delivered globally (389). In the United States, though, the 737-500 was more popular with U.S.-based airlines. Continental, United, and Southwest operate significantly large fleets of 737-500 aircraft, with CO being the largest operating a total of 63 737-500 aircraft. The only legacy airline to order the 737-400 was US Airways. Alaska Airlines also operates a significant 737-400 fleet.

So, why wasn't the 737-400 very popular in the U.S.? I think that the 737-400 would have been a good fit with Continental. In fact, I actually wonder why did CO choose the MD-80 instead of the 737-400. The 737-400 would have fit in well with their fleet of 737-300s and 737-500s.
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Cubsrule
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Thu Sep 27, 2007 2:03 am

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Thread starter):
So, why wasn't the 737-400 very popular in the U.S.?

Based on the two carriers that did buy the 734, I have to think that a large part of it has to do with range. The 734 has the legs to fly up and down the east or west coasts, but it's not a transcon airplane. Given the fairly regional nature of US and AS, particularly at the time they bought the 734, that jumps out at me. I don't, however, think that's the whole answer.
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flyboy80
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Thu Sep 27, 2007 2:04 am

This is just a stab in the dark but CO was a large DC-9 operator. AS choose the 734 and MD. I'm not a real expert on the MD variants but I believe the AS MDs (whatever they are 81s, 82s?) have a greater range than their boeing counterparts? Can't be much, I'm sure theres a much better answer to come.
 
KingAir200
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Thu Sep 27, 2007 2:40 am

I believe Boeing offered the 734 to NWA in the mid to late 80s, but IIRC, NWA declined and ordered the A320, which was a more advanced airplane at the time.
 
Clipper136
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:09 am

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Thread starter):
I have been wondering why the 737-400 was not a very popular aircraft with U.S.-based airlines

simply because at the time the major airlines all operated significant numbers 727s. The 2 airlines that initially ordered the 734, Alaska and Piedmont, did not.
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n710ps
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:14 am

The simple reason is the 727-200 and larger DC9's. Similar markets. Had Boeing waited another half a decade or so it could have been a little more successful perhaps. It is a great platform for 727 freighter replacement though. US beat the shiz out of their 400's. For a very long time she was the work horse even though the MD-80 existed in the fleet. The MD-80 ended up being the Florida plane while the 737 ended up doing a little more of the longer legs and spending alot of time doing routes like LGA-MCI-LAX or LGA MSY and BWI/CLT/PIT to the Carribean even to a lesser.
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ordpark
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:24 am

the 737-400 was/is powered by the same engine as the -300 and is slow to climb...also, as mentioned above didn't have the range to make it an attractive alternative to tri-motors...
 
EXAAUADL
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:38 am

Underpowered and range
 
n710ps
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:48 am

US 737's were derated some time ago as well so their power is severely lacking as well.
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1337Delta764
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majo

Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:49 am

The strange part is that the 737-500 was more popular than the 737-400 in the U.S., even though the 737-400 sold better globally. What does the 737-500 have for U.S. airlines that the 737-400 doesn't?

The AS MD-80s were MD-83s, which indeed have more range than the 737-400. However, CO's MD-80s were MD-82s, which have less range than the 737-400.

[Edited 2007-09-26 20:50:47]
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FlagshipAZ
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:51 am

Alaska has 40 734s...the most it ever had. 4 or 5 are being converted into freighters, plus 1 or 2 combis.
The 734 is doing something right for AS, since the airline is still keeping all 734s it ever had, and keeping them busy as well. On a sidenote, FX looked at the 734 once, but like others have said here, the aircraft lacks the range to do certain jobs.
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trintocan
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:56 am

The 737-500 was a direct replacement for the -200 and thus found ready markets for huge 737-200 operators in the US such as WN and UA. While the 737-400 was a direct replacement for the 727 the fact is that the 727s in many airlines' fleets were still viable propositions to operate and thence there was relatively little impetus to replace those birds with newer, more costly aircraft. Overseas, airlines disposed of 727s far more quickly and hence the 737-400 and later the A320 gained strongholds. In the end it was the greater technological advance that was the A320 which killed off the 737 Classics and led Boeing to respond with the 737 NG series.

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phllax
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Thu Sep 27, 2007 4:14 am

It was a matter of bad timing. As mentioned above, the oldest 727's are were just a few years younger than the 734.

SW may have ordered the 734, had it not had an additional overwing exit and required them to have an additional flight attendent because it would have capacity over 150 pax.

CO was still digesting it's three way merger, and was in no financial position to purchase the 734.

There are rumors that UA would have ordered the 734 if it had nother 6-9 seats, as it had the range to fly ORD to fly anywhere in the lower 48, as well as Alaska.

The 735 became popular because it was the smallest mainline plane available at the time except the F-100, and airlines were starting to retire older 200's as well as DC-9's.

As far as being underpowered, I believe the 400 had higher powered engines than the 300 and climbed just as quickly as the 300.

US installed extra fuel tanks, and would run them BWI/PIT/PHL/CLT-LAX/SFO/SEA/PHX. As stated above the aux fuel tanks have been removed, and they now go everywhere, but mostly to Florida, NAS, CUN, CZM, MBJ, GCM. The last trans-con was LAX-PHL in the summer of 2000, a 3pm departure that barely went out full, as it was O/D passengers only.
 
N1120A
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Thu Sep 27, 2007 4:26 am

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 1):
I have to think that a large part of it has to do with range.

That was, to a point, but like said, it would have had ORD-anywhere range.

Quoting Flyboy80 (Reply 2):
AS choose the 734 and MD. I'm not a real expert on the MD variants but I believe the AS MDs (whatever they are 81s, 82s?) have a greater range than their boeing counterparts?

AS chose the MD80 first. They then ran into major problems with the weather conditions in Alaska and ordered the 734, moving the MD80s to West Coast and Mexico flights.

Quoting Clipper136 (Reply 4):
all operated significant numbers 727s. The 2 airlines that initially ordered the 734, Alaska and Piedmont, did not.

Not to mention the 757 at the larger end.

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 9):
What does the 737-500 have for U.S. airlines that the 737-400 doesn't?

A direct replacement for an existing popular aircraft

Quoting Phllax (Reply 12):

SW may have ordered the 734, had it not had an additional overwing exit and required them to have an additional flight attendent because it would have capacity over 150 pax.

Well, they could have kept capacity to 150 if they wanted the aircraft.
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da man
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Thu Sep 27, 2007 4:35 am

Quoting Phllax (Reply 12):
SW may have ordered the 734, had it not had an additional overwing exit and required them to have an additional flight attendent because it would have capacity over 150 pax.

Don't mean to nitpick, but I believe you mean WN, because Air Namibia isn't a US airline.
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DIA
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Thu Sep 27, 2007 4:41 am

Quoting Trintocan (Reply 11):
While the 737-400 was a direct replacement for the 727

Good point. To add, the 734 was well-suited to replace 721s. In time, the 738 was the exact (most perfect) Boeing replacement for 722s.
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Viscount724
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Thu Sep 27, 2007 7:35 am

Quoting DIA (Reply 15):
Quoting Trintocan (Reply 11):
While the 737-400 was a direct replacement for the 727

Good point. To add, the 734 was well-suited to replace 721s.

In terms of seating capacity, the 737-500 was the closest match to the 727-100. Even the typical seating configuration on most US-carrier 737-300s was higher than on their 727-100s. The passenger cabin on the 727-100 was almost the same size as the 737-200 and 737-500. The 737-400 was a closer match to the 727-200. Most carriers had very similar seating on both types.
 
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vhqpa
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majo

Thu Sep 27, 2007 2:18 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 13):
Well, they could have kept capacity to 150 if they wanted the aircraft.

according to seatguru WN's 733 fleet has 137 seats no point intoducing a new subfleet if it only has 13 more seats.


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scxmechanic
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:10 pm

Southwest ordered the B735 due to the noise restrictons and the short runway at SNA. At least that's what I read in some old company documents.
 
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tavong
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:26 pm

Quoting SCXmechanic (Reply 18):
Southwest ordered the B735 due to the noise restrictons and the short runway at SNA. At least that's what I read in some old company documents.

Yes, that could be a reason too, but what other fleet choice had WN at that time?

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MD11junkie
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majo

Thu Sep 27, 2007 11:21 pm

Because of the bad IFE systems...  Wink

[Edited 2007-09-27 16:21:47]
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burnsie28
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RE: Lack Of Popularity Of The 737-400 With US Majors

Fri Sep 28, 2007 12:05 am

Quoting KingAir200 (Reply 3):
I believe Boeing offered the 734 to NWA in the mid to late 80s, but IIRC, NWA declined and ordered the A320, which was a more advanced airplane at the time.

Bingo

AS, US both have the 737-400.

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