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UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:58 pm

United Airlines Sees No Room For Airbus A380 In Long-Haul Fleet
http://www.aviationweek.com/Article....l/avd_06_29_2012_p01-01-472305.xml

"Among the aircraft that are under consideration for the higher capacity long-haul segment are the A350-1000, the Boeing 777X and the 747-8, Smisek said."
 
southwest737500
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:00 pm

Hopefully we could see our first USA carrier getting the 748
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columba
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:13 pm

I do hope for the 747-8I, but I see the A350-1000 all over it..............makes sense together with their A350-900, but if they need larger aircraft rather soon it will be the 747-8I no doubt about it !!!!!
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DarkSnowyNight
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:20 pm

Quoting columba (Reply 2):


I do hope for the 747-8I, but I see the A350-1000 all over it..............makes sense together with their A350-900, but if they need larger aircraft rather soon it will be the 747-8I no doubt about it !!!!!

I agree. I read this as UA saying "They 380's off the table, but if you can make us a great deal on the 35J, we'll be all over that."

I don't think we'll be seeing a 748i though. If they must have something bigger than a 35J, it will be a 779, but only in conjunction with the 35J, not instead of it.
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traindoc
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:26 pm

The A350-1000 is a "paper" airplane. After the 787 debacle, I would hope that UA goes after a proven A/C. What about the 777-300ER? Is that plane big enough to replace a 744? How does the 773 compare with the 748, when it comes to pax, cargo and range?
 
CHRISBA777ER
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:35 pm

He doesnt rule it out, he just says it might be a little large for what they need it for.

Doesnt sound to me like they are going to be making a decision any time soon, and if/when they do, VLA capacity not likely to arrive much before 2016 I'd have thought.

Thats a long time from now. Airbus may well have re-engined the A388 and given her a bit more range by then - if UA could do LAX-HKG non-stop both ways all year round with such a beast, it may well make serious business sense.

Not over yet for the A380 by a long chalk.
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BlueShamu330s
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:58 pm

I have to agree with Chris on this one.

Smisek would be a fool to publically discount the A380 at this time; he hasn't.

Quote:
probably a little large for what we need.

I do think there's a little too much editorial license and spin to suggest the A380 has been discounted, based on that one sentence.

Looking forward at forecast passenger flow models, I agree again with Chris that an XWB engined A380 could be a formidable tool in United's portfolio.

Considering UA's public statement that they are also actively considering their options for replacing the B757 fleet, the combination of an A321neo, A35J, A380 package must surely be something Airbus is actively pursuing as the optimum solution to United's fleet overhaul.

Interesting times ahead.  

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seabosdca
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:08 pm

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 5):
Airbus may well have re-engined the A388 and given her a bit more range by then - if UA could do LAX-HKG non-stop both ways all year round with such a beast, it may well make serious business sense.

An A380 ordered today would have no problem with LAX-HKG (or, for that matter, ORD-HKG) non-stop both ways year-round.

My guess is they are skeptical of the A380 because of its sheer size -- that presents some risk if there is a softening in the market.
 
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:34 pm

Quoting blueshamu330s (Reply 6):
Looking forward at forecast passenger flow models, I agree again with Chris that an XWB engined A380 could be a formidable tool in United's portfolio.

Considering UA's public statement that they are also actively considering their options for replacing the B757 fleet, the combination of an A321neo, A35J, A380 package must surely be something Airbus is actively pursuing as the optimum solution to United's fleet overhaul.

I still maintain that at the right price, and perhaps sweetened by an XWB-powered variant like you describe, they could be persuaded on the 380.

Airbus offering a basket of the above-mentioned planes could well be a great deal for UA. I know we've heard all the talk of a supposed MAX order, but it seems like the A321NEO will be more of a true 757 replacement at the "top-right corner" of the graph, so it could find a place alongside a UA MAX fleet. Surely an order that large and valuable would command substantial discounts, not to mention Airbus offering a "multi-line discount" like your car and property insurance carrier for buying all those different models. That would have to be tempting even for the bean-counting UA management.
 
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STT757
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:37 pm

I would hope UA would get a sweet deal from Boeing for their loyalty and enduring the years of 787 delays after being one of the first carriers to order the then 7E7.
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sunrisevalley
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:38 pm

One of the questions would be how important is the payload above ~60t to UA's operation. If they have significant need for the 60 to ~ 68t that the A380 can give them over the 748i at 13 hrs sector time or more then it is the aircraft for them, a number of other considerations all being equal.
 
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:04 pm

Quoting blueshamu330s (Reply 6):
Considering UA's public statement that they are also actively considering their options for replacing the B757 fleet, the combination of an A321neo, A35J, A380 package must surely be something Airbus is actively pursuing as the optimum solution to United's fleet overhaul.

I am not going to get into the merits of an A380 in the UA fleet as it has been discussed over and over again on here but , as far as the A321NEO goes, if all the news reports we have discussed on here are true , UA seems to choosing the MAX over the NEO due to favorable pricing and availability. If Airbus can come up with TATL range for the 321 then its a whole new game though.

I think the only decision to be made here is the A350-1000 or the 777X ... 2 planes which still need to fly.
 
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:10 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 7):

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 5):
Airbus may well have re-engined the A388 and given her a bit more range by then - if UA could do LAX-HKG non-stop both ways all year round with such a beast, it may well make serious business sense.

An A380 ordered today would have no problem with LAX-HKG (or, for that matter, ORD-HKG) non-stop both ways year-round.

Without a payload penalty though? The 77W struggles with it on occasion and so does the 744 on some days. CX_Flyboy has some useful input here, so might Zeke if he's around.

I was under the impression that the A388 is headed toward a 600t MTOW and that this should have broadly comparable range to a non-HGW A345. Impressive really.

Of course the challenge here is for Airbus to build an A389 with engines and tweaks that give it the same or close to the range and fuel burn to today's A388. Will be a hell of a plane if they can build it.

Sort of makes you wonder how long the likes of NH, CX, UA and maybe DL can sit on the sidelines if Airbus can build this beast.

Sounds a funny thing to say considering UA are saying that "today's A380 might be a wee bit bit for them" to say they'll lump on a bigger A389 down the line, but it would be a CASM quantum leap forward for transPac routes.

One wonders whether Boeing can do something similar with the 747 or come up with a clean sheet VVLA? Doubtful.

Quoting blueshamu330s (Reply 6):
Looking forward at forecast passenger flow models, I agree again with Chris that an XWB engined A380 could be a formidable tool in United's portfolio.

Especially if their entire A359 fleet has the Trents under the wings as well and a common type-rating (will it? I dont know?)

Quoting blueshamu330s (Reply 6):
Considering UA's public statement that they are also actively considering their options for replacing the B757 fleet, the combination of an A321neo, A35J, A380 package must surely be something Airbus is actively pursuing as the optimum solution to United's fleet overhaul.

A321NEO looks good here, especially if, as we've discussed here, it will have true transatlantic range with the sharkets and GTFs.

A lot depends on the 739ER MAX or comparable offering - i dont see UA taking the A321NEO if Boeing can come up with something comparable in the 739ER class/weight.
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seabosdca
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:13 pm

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 12):
Without a payload penalty though?

Possibly with a payload penalty, but less of one than their 744 has to take now.

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 12):
Sounds a funny thing to say considering UA are saying that "today's A380 might be a wee bit bit for them" to say they'll lump on a bigger A389 down the line, but it would be a CASM quantum leap forward for transPac routes.

Absolutely. The issue is that adding such a huge aircraft would introduce a substantial amount of risk. U.S. carriers have been much more risk-averse over the last decade or so than some of their overseas counterparts, particularly with respect to aircraft selection. They are more likely to err on the side of not having enough capacity, driving up yields, leaving some peak-season revenue on the table, but never putting themselves in a situation of not being able to cover their costs.
 
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Stitch
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:28 pm

Quoting blueshamu330s (Reply 6):
Considering UA's public statement that they are also actively considering their options for replacing the B757 fleet, the combination of an A321neo, A35J, A380 package must surely be something Airbus is actively pursuing as the optimum solution to United's fleet overhaul.

If reports are true that UA has chosen the 737 MAX, with UA being a large 747 and 777 operator I would be inclined to think that the combination of the 737-9, 777-9 and the 747-8 would be something Boeing is actively pursuing as the optimum solution to United's fleet overhaul.

The original plan was to use the A350-900 to replace the 747-400, so post-merger UA evidently feels growth is stronger than pre-merger UA and they need something bigger. How much bigger will probably decide whether the A350-1000 or 777-9 gets the nod.

[Edited 2012-06-29 08:31:40]
 
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:38 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 13):
Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 12):
Sounds a funny thing to say considering UA are saying that "today's A380 might be a wee bit bit for them" to say they'll lump on a bigger A389 down the line, but it would be a CASM quantum leap forward for transPac routes.

Absolutely. The issue is that adding such a huge aircraft would introduce a substantial amount of risk. U.S. carriers have been much more risk-averse over the last decade or so than some of their overseas counterparts, particularly with respect to aircraft selection. They are more likely to err on the side of not having enough capacity, driving up yields, leaving some peak-season revenue on the table, but never putting themselves in a situation of not being able to cover their costs.

Its interesting because there are a lot of factors that might go in its favour.

Why spend $200m on an A388 now when you can spend 10% on the same number of A389s a bit further down the line that will do what UA want it to better. Fact is, UA only have a couple of routes where a VLA makes sense. All of them transPac. They are city-pairs with thousands of seats on them daily and for which traffic/demand is not the issue. So, if you are going to fly a VLA on a select few flights, you might as well do so with the lowest CASM one you can find to maximize your advantage. In this case you could express it as CASM advantage per seat versus capital expenditure. IE: your competitive advantage in the market per dollar spent on getting it.

Factor in commonality with the A350s they’ll have dozens of, the same Trents under the wings, and the fact that we’re likely talking ten VLAs or less, a dozen at absolute most, the advantages start to stack up.

I’ll go out on a limb and make a prediction here.

UA will not order an A388, but IF Airbus can build the A389 using the Trend XWBs that has the range to do basically anything viable out of US west coast without a payload penalty (yes, tall order I know) then UA will buy a dozen or less. This will not happen before 2020, I wouldn’t have thought.

In the meantime, it’s a straight fight between the 777X and A35J. Regardless of what they say, I really don’t see what the 748I can give them.

737NEO, 100+ 788s, 50+ A359, a few A35J and a handful of A389. Pretty compelling if you ask me.
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hnl-jack
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:52 pm

Seems to me that this is the key statement.

“We don’t have a sufficient narrowbody order,” Smisek admitted. The airline is evaluating the A320NEO and the Boeing 737 MAX, but Smisek would not comment on a possible order or if the airline would consider current model narrowbodies. “It all depends on timing,” he noted."

All the news of late suggests that UA is finalizing a narrow body order with Boeing and his "timing" comment may be the clue to confirm the order for the MAX. The Airbus NEO line appears to be rather full for the foreseeable future and "if" the 739 MAX has the legs for TATL flights, that could firm the deal. If that is indeed the outcome, then the 748I could be a nice bonus that Boeing is in a position to offer sweet pricing and delivery. The 748I would be a relatively easy transition for UA and offers a 380 competitive product that could be incorporated in both UA's high yield Asia markets as well as a couple of West Coast/Europe markets rather quickly. As pointed out earlier in this thread, the A-350-1000 is still a paper airplane that still does not have a confirmed delivery commitment from Airbus. The same could said for the anticipated new Boeing 777 variant.

My guess would be a 100+ MAX order and "if" Smisek and his team really have determined they're going to need a large VLA, they will place an order and options for somewhere between 6 to 12 748I's.
 
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Stitch
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:53 pm

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 15):
In the meantime, it’s a straight fight between the 777X and A35J. Regardless of what they say, I really don’t see what the 748I can give them.
UA currently appears to use the 747-400 where they need the range or they need the capacity. Some missions are 744 year-round, while others rotate between 744 during High Season and 772 during Low Season. What the 747-8 would offer is the same thing the 747-400 does - more capacity and range when and where they need it. It is also available much sooner than the A350-1000 or 777-9 (assuming Boeing launches the 777-9).

That being said, it depends on what kind of capacity boost UA is looking for.

Pre-merger, they gave the impression they wanted to size their fleet around 200-300 seats (787-8 and A350-900), which would imply they would use frequency and not capacity to service high-traffic markets.

Post-merger, they now appear to feel that frequency will remain important (they now have even more international gateways), but they now have more aggregate traffic as a merged entity, so they need more than 300-seats on at least some of those frequencies.

A 777-9 would get them closer to a 747-400 than an A350-1000 would, but the A350-1000 should offer better CASM and RASM.

[Edited 2012-06-29 08:55:51]
 
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:06 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 17):
A 777-9 would get them closer to a 747-400 than an A350-1000 would, but the A350-1000 should offer better CASM and RASM.

Agree with that. Will be an intesting insight into their strategy moving forward to see what they go for (if anything).
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columba
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:13 pm

Quoting HNL-Jack (Reply 16):
eems to me that this is the key statement.

“We don’t have a sufficient narrowbody order,” Smisek admitted. The airline is evaluating the A320NEO and the Boeing 737 MAX, but Smisek would not comment on a possible order or if the airline would consider current model narrowbodies. “It all depends on timing,” he noted."

All the news of late suggests that UA is finalizing a narrow body order with Boeing and his "timing" comment may be the clue to confirm the order for the MAX.

The key statement is that they don´t have a sufficient narrowbody order and that they need new planes soon, both aircraft are under consideration and both aircraft in their former generation are already in the fleet, seems to me that they will be going for a split but don´t want to reveal any details yet.

P.S.
The 747-8I is a regular visitor in one of United hubs and one of their biggest partners is the operator of the aircraft, I guess some UA people are talking frequently with their peers in Germany a lot and asking a lot of questions  Wink

[Edited 2012-06-29 09:16:30]
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:27 pm

CASM doesn't mean a thing if the seats aren't filled. A 400 seat aircraft with lower trip costs will always trump a 500 seat aircraft with 100 empty seats. That changes of course as actual passenger count climbs above 400 IF the airline does not have to significantly reduce yields to gain that traffic. The larger aircraft can also benefit IF it can derive higher yielding traffic at the 400 seat level than the 400 seater could. The other issue is with seasonality, In UA's case if they can't fill the VLA year round it becomes a serious liability, Better to have two smaller aircraft that can be rotated around the system to follow demand than being stuck with a larger aircraft that can't be filled during lower seasons.
 
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:38 pm

Despite what the former UA thought it was doing (which I never thought would work), the new UA is not replacing the 744 fleet with the A359. This is a bigger carrier now, with a New York hub, and the A359 is not big enough.

The A359 orders and options can replace the entire 772ER fleet. The 787 orders and options can replace the entire 767 fleet + 777A. That leaves the 744s to be replaced, and without a 777 in the future, it means the A350-1000 or 748 have just a good a chance as the 77X.

In some respects, the -1000 might be the best choice, but it is smaller than a 744. There is future fleet commonality, but that isn't fully realized until over 1/2 the 744s are gone and there are a significant number of A350s on property.

The 77X might be the right choice but for a 777-9 stretch, what are we talking, 2020? And again, as the other 777s go, it becomes an oddball fleet of 20 anyway. (unless of course they abandon all the A350 options in favor of 77X, not likely).

748s can be had sooner, they are a known quantity at UA, and the same crews can fly the 744. It's the most seamless

I say it has a leg up, and I've always felt this way, even when the old UA announced they were somehow going to replace their 744s with A359s.
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pnwtraveler
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:46 pm

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 5):
Not over yet for the A380 by a long chalk.
Quoting seabosdca (Reply 7):
My guess is they are skeptical of the A380 because of its sheer size -- that presents some risk if there is a softening in the market.

I don't think the door is necessarily slammed on the A380 totally, I just view it was a long shot. And similarily it might also be almost as much a long shot for the 748i.

The US industry has gone through two very large down cycles that nearly toppled some of the remaining US Legacy carriers and mergers has been the only way to keep the operations going. Many of the long haul routes are notoriously seasonally cyclical as well.

Everytime this or a similar type post comes up you have some who line up touting the A380 for almost every airline viewpoint and others who line up cheering the 748i. The only thing the latter plane has, is fewer seats to fill. What is missing and no one seems to be able to put their finger on in these threads, is a direct comparison of how many seats a A380 has to fly with, to break even, vs how many seats a 748i can fly with breaking even. Eventually this number will become apparent as more airlines operate the aircraftAirlines calculate that all the time and even LH flying both.

However, the whole risk factor for airlines is HUGE compared to a lot of other factors. It is always preferable to give up a little profit to prevent larger losses during a downturn. You had better believe that airlines look very carefully at the equation of which airframe presents more risk, and the equation of risk against profit. That far outways any of the fanboys on either side of the A380/B748 promotion and the notion that to compete an airline has to match what other airlines are doing. That is far down the list of any airline with a good business sense.

It is far better to operate smaller aircraft more often and then be able to readily able to redeploy them during a downturn that to have VLA's for routes that can be volatile. That besides the constant inablility of some to recognize the need for frequency in and out of North America makes these threads often very repetitive and with a lot of air blowing around but yet without hard numbers to compare.
 
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:53 pm

This makes more sense.

I never understood the idea that the A350-900 was going to be a good B747-400 replacement. UAL still has too many big transpacific flights.

Somehow I do not see the A380. Europeans love the "slot" argument, but honestly, so long as I still see RJs using those airports where slots are to be valued higher than Midas' Gold, it just doesn't make any practical sense. The Japanese carriers have not gone A380, so why would the Americans?

Fuel economy makes TONS of sense for the A380. Literally.

But again, the premium seats in the front of the plane are the make-or-break profit for the legacy airlines. Some of the high end passengers care about Bars, Showers and Suites (EK, SQ) Others would prefer more frequency and don't care about the plane (but maybe Cargo is a bigger deal) like CX 77W strategy. Others just need seats (QF)

I think this is a sale for Boeing to lose. If they need lift now, and the price is right, B747-8. If they can wait B777X.
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DarkSnowyNight
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:11 pm

Quoting STT757 (Reply 9):


I would hope UA would get a sweet deal from Boeing for their loyalty and enduring the years of 787 delays after being one of the first carriers to order the then 7E7.

Erm, yes, maybe. The 748i does need some help out the door, I think we can all agree, but at the same time, production costs are pretty high compared to most other BCA products, and it would be unwise for BCA to discount them all that much.

Same goes double for the 380, since it effectively doesn't have competition. But...

Quoting LHCVG (Reply 8):

Airbus offering a basket of the above-mentioned planes could well be a great deal for UA.

I keep thinking that the numbers really don't work out well for UA's 388 need, and that seems fair. But... might Airbus (yes in contrast to my opinion above) to make a home for the five slots KingFisher will likely not need? That's really about the only way I can see Airbus trying at all hard to place 380s with UA. But there again, the scale may nto be attractive to UA...

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 12):

Of course the challenge here is for Airbus to build an A389 with engines and tweaks that give it the same or close to the range and fuel burn to today's A388. Will be a hell of a plane if they can build it.

As it was for MD to build the proposed MD 12 with 744 engines, and as was advertised at the time, lower fuel burn. Not sure how that was supposed to work out...

Quoting Flaps (Reply 20):


CASM doesn't mean a thing if the seats aren't filled. A 400 seat aircraft with lower trip costs will always trump a 500 seat aircraft with 100 empty seats.

Nor does it when one has twice the engines to maintain, more crew to staff with and higher landing fees for every flight. CASM is indeed low on the 380 once we get into the 5000+mile sectors, but anything below that, and there are better options (especially in any scenario involving the 350). Where I suspect money is actually made on the 380 is on routes that can support very large amounts of premium traffic. Which would explain KE's example of only 407 seats on their copies (which have higher CASM than almost any competing AC on the routes used --but probably higher RASM as well--). For established transpac routes though, and some TATL, no doubt, 100+ J class per flight is a good thing to have available.
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Stitch
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:19 pm

Quoting pnwtraveler (Reply 22):
What is missing and no one seems to be able to put their finger on in these threads, is a direct comparison of how many seats a A380 has to fly with, to break even, vs how many seats a 748i can fly with breaking even.

The closet I have seen is a study done in March of 2001 by Geoffrey Buescher comparing the 747X to the A380-800. His study claimed that a 525-seat A380-800 can break even at a 58% load factor (323 seats), while a 413-seat 747-400 needed a 70% load factor (290 seats). It did not give a break-even load factor for either the 430-seat 747X or the 504-seat 747X Stretch, however (the 747-8 slots in between the 747X and 747X Stretch in length).

UA knows what their average break-even load factor on a 747-400 is, so they should be able to get a good idea of what the average break-even load factor of a 747-8 would be. The 747-8 would offer UA about 24 more Global Business Class seats (16 on the main deck and 8 on the upper) along with another row of Economy Plus. So where the 747-8 would most likely work for UA is where premium cabin travel is strong - the same strategy LH is using their 747-8s on.

[Edited 2012-06-29 10:44:59]
 
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:19 pm

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 5):
Thats a long time from now. Airbus may well have re-engined the A388 and given her a bit more range by then

Airbus might, might, re-engine the A380 one day. That day is far out in the horizon, but even if it wasn't they would be hard pressed indeed to get the job done by 2016.

This smells like a B748 order to me, and congratulations if that's what UA springs for. We know little of what works best for them, so even when most any other airline crunching the numbers have come down in favour of the A380, the Boeing might be the one they can make most money flying.
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ghifty
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:29 pm

Quoting darksnowynight (Reply 24):
As it was for MD to build the proposed MD 12 with 744 engines, and as was advertised at the time, lower fuel burn. Not sure how that was supposed to work out...

An MD-12 with 744 engines is like an A380 with 744 engines, it wouldn't work.

That being said, the A380 powerplants have much more thrust (avg. 10,000lbf each) than the 744 engines and DO work quite well so the A389 with A388 engines situation is considerably different.

[Edited 2012-06-29 10:29:44]
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brilondon
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:46 pm

If is looking for capacity increase, then they would take a good look at the A380 or the 748i, Conversely, if they are looking for a direct replacement, the 773 is really the only available option at this time. Anything with the A350 anything is still not flying and the US government may have something to do with their choice.
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dfambro
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:48 pm

Cool - finally some confirmation of the long suspected issue that 359s just aren't big enough for all of UA's needs.

Given the big difference in availability dates of the alternatives being considered - 748, 35J, and 777X - I wonder if the biggest variable in their decision process is global/US economic performance in the next several years, as opposed to some UA-specific configuration and route CASM optimization. Do they want new planes coming into the fleet in 2016, or 2020? If they opt for the 748 with sooner delivery, that would leave them without the 'latest and greatest' planes when the 35J and 777X (or whatever) eventually comes on line, but it's been quite a ew years since UA fielded a fleet of the 'latest and greatest' planes anyway.

Too bad the 380 doesn't make the cut. I would read "probably a little large" to mean that the 380 is completely out of the running right now. And if they are developing their order now, that means no 380 for sure.

As a regular US transpac flier, I'm hoping for 748s delivered ASAP!
 
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DarkSnowyNight
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:55 pm

Quoting ghifty (Reply 27):

That being said, the A380 powerplants have much more thrust (avg. 10,000lbf each) than the 744 engines and DO work quite well so the A389 with A388 engines situation is considerably different.

Well yeah, that's more or less where I was going with that. I know there is a difference of scale, but the principle holds. A 388's engine/wing combo will work on a 389. What has me going "huh?" is the assertion that only minimal tweaking will make them burn the same or less fuel doing it. I'm not going to say it's impossible, I just don't see how that will work out. No doubt there will be an efficiency gain on a 389 (or Airbus will not build/sell it), but I do not see it mainting current consumption rates or bettering them. At least not without being a different engine.
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phxa340
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:21 pm

Quoting brilondon (Reply 28):
Anything with the A350 anything is still not flying and the US government may have something to do with their choice.

UA is a privately traded company with a massive Airbus fleet and order book. US Airways is a US company with a 90% + Airbus fleet and the US Govt has said nothing just like they will say nothing when/if UA orders more Arbii.
 
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:53 pm

One of the parameters UA has used premerger was how would the aircraft fit in existing facilities. The economics of the aircraft can change greatly if ground facilities have to be modified and especially if it mean loss of an adjacent gate during peak hub.
 
avek00
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:09 pm

Quoting hiflyer (Reply 32):
One of the parameters UA has used premerger was how would the aircraft fit in existing facilities. The economics of the aircraft can change greatly if ground facilities have to be modified and especially if it mean loss of an adjacent gate during peak hub.

This alone would generally wreck the economics of an A380 acquisition by United -- virtually all of its hubsites would need extensive, capacity-reducing modifications to handle the aircraft, while the 748I is basically "plug and play" in terms of fitting into most existing 744 handling areas.
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tjwgrr
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:26 pm

Quoting B777LRF (Reply 26):
This smells like a B748 order to me, and congratulations if that's what UA springs for. We know little of what works best for them, so even when most any other airline crunching the numbers have come down in favour of the A380, the Boeing might be the one they can make most money flying.

We can only hope.    Large twins are really so generic looking. I know, I know, it's not about what the aircraft looks like, but what the numbers look like.

Sure would be a great looking bird:

http://www.cardatabase.net/modifiedairlinerphotos/photos/big/00014816.jpg
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UALWN
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:26 pm

Quoting dfambro (Reply 29):
Cool - finally some confirmation of the long suspected issue that 359s just aren't big enough for all of UA's needs.

In spite of all the people here who assured us that shrinking airplane size was a sure-proof route to profitability...
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lightsaber
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:04 pm

Does Smisek realize what he has done with a few comments:
1. Invited a few visits by Boeing and Airbus salesmen trying to sell them new aircraft. This is like saying "I might want a new ride" at a cocktail party near that car salesman... You won't be left alone.  
2. Years of a.net speculation.

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 5):
Doesnt sound to me like they are going to be making a decision any time soon

With two of the three aircraft under consideration 'paper aircraft,' they are definately in no rush.

Quoting southwest737500 (Reply 1):
Hopefully we could see our first USA carrier getting the 748

We could. That would be exciting! But once one looks at the 748I, why not the A388?

Quoting columba (Reply 2):
I see the A350-1000 all over it..............makes sense together with their A350-900

That does make the most fleet sense, except for range. The A350-1000 will not have the range of the other aircraft under discussion.

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 12):
Without a payload penalty though? The 77W struggles with it on occasion and so does the 744 on some days.

What A388? Today's? That would do ok, better than the 744. But wait, in 2013 we see the new higher MTOW, wing twist, and the GP7200 engine PIP.    (IIRC, a T900 engine PIP is due soon too...). So next year's A388 will do better than a 2012 delivery A388.    We will start seeing A388s replace 77Ws on the world's longest routes in 2013. The plane is young enough to still be evolving quickly.

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Gemuser
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:08 pm

Quoting avek00 (Reply 33):
while the 748I is basically "plug and play" in terms of fitting into most existing 744 handling areas.

No it's not! The B748 is both longer and has a wider wingspan than the B744 and is longer than the A380. There's many gates at many UA served airports where the B748 will have exactly the same problems as the A380, but perhaps not exactly to the same degree.

Gemuser

[Edited 2012-06-29 15:18:09]
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strfyr51
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:52 pm

Quoting gemuser (Reply 37):

The 747-8i is the right airplane to get in service as a follow on airplane to the 747-422's
The tooling is already in place, the maintenence and flying knowledge base is already in place and the Ground Equipment is already in place. Getting the 747-8i is a NO Brainer. 90% of what we need to know we already Do know about the -8i
The A380 is NOT even in the running. The A350 right now doesn't have a follow on airplane and Boeing will probably do again what they did the last time. Offer one price for the 747-8i one price for the 777 series and an altogthere KILLER price the a combination of the two together. . That's what won it the LAST time, and that's what will win it again.
I'll bet Good money on that It.. Bet on 16-25 new 747-8i's and 32-44 new 777's to replace the 25xx series 777-200A market
airplanes with the PW4077's as they'll command a "pretty penny" in the Conversion market for air Freight especially with their matched cockpits and equipment. I'd doubt more than the 25 A350's on order unless the -1000 is guaranteed to have MUCH better Lift and performance than any competing Boeing product. Lou Mancini and John Lahey are still in the United Family so it will be an interesting sales pitch when it comes I'll bet.
 
PHX787
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:56 pm

Quoting southwest737500 (Reply 1):
Hopefully we could see our first USA carrier getting the 748
Quoting tjwgrr (Reply 34):
Sure would be a great looking bird:

I concur, it would be beautiful   

Quoting C680 (Reply 23):

Somehow I do not see the A380.

I agree. It's too large for their ops.

IMO I think I see the 77X being their option, but for a realistic, deliver-soon option, I see the 748i. What can it do that the 77X can't? So why not just buy it now.
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lhcvg
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:24 pm

Quoting darksnowynight (Reply 24):
I keep thinking that the numbers really don't work out well for UA's 388 need, and that seems fair. But... might Airbus (yes in contrast to my opinion above) to make a home for the five slots KingFisher will likely not need? That's really about the only way I can see Airbus trying at all hard to place 380s with UA. But there again, the scale may nto be attractive to UA...

Exactly....as I've always maintained, I believe the issue is not a purely yes or no, but rather one of terms. If Airbus can come up with an A380 offer that is competitive according to UA's metrics based on price, capabilities, performance, delivery slots, etc., then UA would be enticed. But we just don't have a way to objectively gauge exactly where on the graph that point is.
 
AirbusA6
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:43 pm

I wouldn't rule anything out at this stage, it all depends on how much larger thay want to go than the A359. If they only want something a bit bigger - and as the oriignal strategy was to replace 744s with the A359 this implies they weren't looking for a proper VLA - then the A3510 is the obvious choice.

The 747-8 would be an obvious upgrade from the 744, but why didn't they order it in the first place?
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as739x
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Sat Jun 30, 2012 2:28 am

Quoting hiflyer (Reply 32):
One of the parameters UA has used premerger was how would the aircraft fit in existing facilities. The economics of the aircraft can change greatly if ground facilities have to be modified and especially if it mean loss of an adjacent gate during peak hub.

Finally. This is the most overlooked aspect that so many seem to fail in seeing.
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YXwatcherMKE
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Sat Jun 30, 2012 2:29 am

I sure hope they stay with Boeing, If they are replacing the 744 than IMHO the 748i is the right move. If they are looking to increase passenger numbers then why would you order the A350-1000 with a smaller seating capacity. With the 748i they can go up by as many as 100 more passengers. As to the the 757 replacement a/c I would think based in the current data available on the 737-MAX that would be a good replacement and it looks like UA could get them sooner than with Airbus' A321NEO. And one more thing for me, I think it would be a smart move on UA's part to go with Boeing as it is built here in the USA.
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Stitch
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Sat Jun 30, 2012 2:49 am

Quoting as739x (Reply 43):
This is the most overlooked aspect that so many seem to fail in seeing.

We fail to see it because for most airports that can handle a VLA it isn't an issue - if they can accommodate a 747-8, they can accommodate an A380-800.

The A380-800m is ~4m shorter than the 747-8 and while it does have an ~11m wider wingspan and the outboard engines are ~5m farther out on the wing, it is the rare airport where a 747-8 can fit, yet those few extra meters means an A380-800 cannot.

Pavement loading looks to be a bit higher than the 747-8, but if an airport can support the pavement loading of a 777-300ER, it can comfortably support the pavement loading of an A380-800.

[Edited 2012-06-29 19:55:13]
 
JAAlbert
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:38 am

Quoting phxa340 (Reply 31):
UA is a privately traded company

What? United Continental Holdings,Inc., which owns United Airlines, is a publicly traded company. Perhaps you mean that UAL is not owned by the US government, which of course is true. We can't necessarily say that about GM!

I wonder to what extent UAL's consideration of VLAs is influenced by AA's decision to fly the 77W? I recall reading quotes from Robt. Crandall years ago to the effect that an airline doesn't lose money flying small planes - and AA stayed away from the VLA category for years. Now AA is dipping its toes into the VLA pool. Perhaps something is happening within the US airline industry that we on A-net have not been sufficiently obsessing over. I don't know if its growth in international traffic, increased domestic travel or what, but it seems our domestic carriers are changing their strategies.

I saw LH's 380 take off from SFO the other day. It was a sight to behold. I love the 747, I'm sure I'd love the 380. Maybe I'm just a size queen
 
avek00
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:28 am

Quoting gemuser (Reply 37):

The B748 length won't pose too much of a problem except at EWR. The A380 width/wingspan and loading characteristics pose bigger issues for United, since it'd be nearly impossible to handle an A380 without sacrificing use of some existing Gate space during a peak travel bank at a major hub.
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Gemuser
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:33 am

Quoting avek00 (Reply 46):
The B748 length won't pose too much of a problem except at EWR

Gross generalisation. Got a source.

Quoting avek00 (Reply 46):
The A380 width/wingspan and loading characteristics pose bigger issues for United, since it'd be nearly impossible to handle an A380 without sacrificing use of some existing Gate space during a peak travel bank at a major hub.

And the B748s greater wing span doesn't? Source please.

" loading characteristics"
What does this mean? The A380 can use any jet bridge a B748 can.

Gemuser
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VC10er
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:28 am

If the 748i is available so much sooner than ordering a "paper" airplane, if United inked the deal this week for 24 747-8i's....then exactly how soon would it be before United took delivery of it's first 748i? How fast is Boeing pumping them out now?

Also, if their buddy airline Lufthansa reports amazing performance of the 747-8i, wouldn't that be a big factor for UA's decision?
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CALTECH
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RE: UA Seeking Large Long-Haul Aircraft

Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:49 am

Quoting gemuser (Reply 47):
And the B748s greater wing span doesn't? Source please.





[Edited 2012-06-30 21:52:35]

[Edited 2012-06-30 21:53:36]

[Edited 2012-06-30 21:54:06]
UNITED Would Be Nice

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