I'm sure the fine folks at CO
were all over the used/new plane market as soon as Open Skies was announced and they fully have there options laid out. The 787 delay will only increase the probability of them making a move earlier.
With that being said, where will CO
get the two 777's for EWR
in March 2009? With LHR
, they will again be stretching the fleet to provide and additional widebody service from IAH
(3 flights vs. 2) in 2008. CO
has one of the best utilized 777's fleets in the world due to some pretty crafty scheduling at EWR
. Many route require 777 service due to length (EWR
and IAH NRT
), competition (IAH
) or volume/profit (EWR
>TEL). Something will have to give by 29 March 2009.
In the 10k this month, CO
said (paraphrasing) "they would be reviewing fleet options and consider additions if available at reasonable prices." Not sure if there are any 772 or 767's out there that would a) be reasonably priced and b) meet CO
's spec. In the spring delivery of the 2 new 772's, CO
stated these were the last 772's. In my mind, what's the downside of a 10 year lease on a few 772's to be delivered late 2008/early 2009 if Boeing can accomodate? The lease end could coordinate w/the delivery 787 ship # 50 in 2018 and be returned then (assumes 5 more 787s per year in years 2014-2018).