In the "SIA Order A3XX" thread, PhilB listed a few airlines that he thought had made unsuitable equipment decisions, for reasons of vanity / keeping up with the neighbours etc. They were Cameroon (747), Mea (747), Syrianair (747SP) and THY (DC10). Not having a pop at the esteemed Mr B, but here are my thoughts on why these weren't vanity purchases. However, some airlines have done just that and I'm wondering if any of you guys can think what they are (other than the US domestics all buying 747s in the early 70s then selling them all)?
Cameroon make money with their 747, so do Air Gabon and Angola Airlines (TAAG). These airlines fly for countries way too poor to lose money in return for some very small amount of prestige. Who outside this forum would think more of Angola as a nation or government just because their national airline has a couple of 747-300s? Who outside this forum even knows what a 747-300 looks like?
And as for the other so-called "unsuitable" equipment choices, MEA's 747s would have been busy and the fleet expanded had it not been for the war. Even with all the fighting, MEA used to lease additional 747s during the summer for capacity. It's only now that the war is finally over that the country is having economic problems, but they'll buy some A330s and go back to long haul flying in the next few years. Remember, there are more Lebanese in Brazil than Lebanon (hence the old twice weekly Beirut-Accra-Sao Paulo 747) and loads in Oz (although the 747 flights from Beirut to Sydney used to lose money, sadly). Syria, Lebanon's parent, fill the 747SPs to London, Paris, the Gulf and India, although the SP range isn't needed and they could have probably used a more efficient aircraft, even if the capacity is right.
And THY needed the DC10, as they have vast traffic to Germany (Turkish guest workers and families) and of course the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca every year.
The most unsuitable "vanity" purchases in airline history I can think of were all the US domestic airlines buying 747-100s and flying them around empty with piano bars (even in economy!) to fill up the acres of empty space, and having horrible reliability problems cos the 747 is really designed to fly to Europe overnight and come back the next day, not fly up and down the east coast (the Kosher Klipper) or back and forth to Chicago. Not surprisingly, none of these airlines had any 747s in their fleet ten years later! Eastern, AA, Delta, Continental, National...come on down!
So, yes, there have been some silly vanity, "Joneses"-influenced equipment purchases, but nearly all in the US and certainly not any of the examples listed above by MrB. Anyone think of any?
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz