traindoc
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UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:23 pm

On March 31, UA 895, ORD to HKG, changes from a 747 to a 777. That's a loss of about 100 seats. As I am flying that route on 4/1, I have been looking at the loads. At least this week the planes have been leaving almost full. So does this mean that UA expects a lot less pax, or is this due to A/C utilization/maintenance/shortage issues? I know that UA is short wide-bodies due to the 787 fiasco.
 
codc10
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:31 pm

Quoting traindoc (Thread starter):
A/C utilization/maintenance/shortage issues?

United is centralizing the 747 fleet at SFO to improve dispatch reliability. The 747 pilot base at ORD will be closed and assimilated into other fleets.
 
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hOMSaR
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:34 pm

This is not related to the 787 grounding, as the reallocation of UA's 747 fleet this spring has been public for several months.
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UAL777UK
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:35 pm

Shame. This route has so got VLA written all over it for UA.
 
LAXintl
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:36 pm

Quite old news - All part of the 744 fleet adjustments;

United To Concentrate 747 Fleet At San Francisco (by g500 Dec 21 2012 in Civil Aviation)

=
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AADC10
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:41 pm

Downgauging to a 772 was inevitable with the decision to base all of the 744s at SFO. It seems like the 744s on ORD-HKG had a mechanical delay about every third day. Full flights are not very meaningful. Systemwide the load factor is around 86% so most flights are just about always full. It might cause the fares to rise slightly but if you are already booked, it will not make a difference. Just make sure you are assigned a seat.

From a passenger standpoint, the 772 is much better than the 744. In Y, the seats are an inch wider and there is relatively more bin space. The 772s have individual seatback VOD. The 744s have a flat screen mounted on the bulkhead. The 772 also has a better proportion of front cabin seats to Y seats for upgraders. The only things going for the 744 are the unique seats in the nose and dome and guaranteed ITPE. There are still a few 772s awaiting the new interiors.

[Edited 2013-03-07 14:43:06]
 
CX Flyboy
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:43 am

I would bet that the profitability of a fully loaded 744 ORD-HKG (with inevitable weight restrictions esp in summer) vs a fully loaded 772 (even with 100 less pax) are pretty similar and with fuel prices ever rising it makes sense to start to slowly pull the 744s off longhaul routes, although having 77Ws in the fleet would be much better for them.
 
Rafabozzolla
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:34 am

But couldn't the 744s be flown in a W pattern (SFO-HKG-ORD-HKG-SFO) and still get back to base at SFO?
 
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kngkyle
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:51 am

Quoting Rafabozzolla (Reply 7):
But couldn't the 744s be flown in a W pattern (SFO-HKG-ORD-HKG-SFO) and still get back to base at SFO?

Doesn't solve the problem of the plane going tech at ORD, thousands of miles from the maintenance base. Nothing can be done to alleviate the problem on the HKG end, apart from retiring the 744s all together.

Wasn't this route flown 10x weekly last peak season, before CX started the route? Perhaps we will see that happen again, even with CX on the route. Or CX could start a 2nd daily, or AA with their new 77Ws.

[Edited 2013-03-07 18:57:20]
 
LAXintl
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:22 am

Quoting Rafabozzolla (Reply 7):
But couldn't the 744s be flown in a W pattern (SFO-HKG-ORD-HKG-SFO) and still get back to base at SFO?

Thats what is basically does today (with a HKG-SIN-HKG tag thrown in also), along with NRT-ORD-NRT also being on a 744, but due to schedules a 744 needs to overnight for 20 hours at ORD.

This requires maintenance support, and until recently required a crew base.

So now plans are all 747 ops are being consolidated back to SFO with the exception of LAX-SYD and HNL-NRT.
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Max Q
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:10 am

That is a huge downgrade.


Another step backwards for United.
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UAL777UK
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:21 am

Quoting Max Q (Reply 10):
That is a huge downgrade.


Another step backwards for United.

I am not so sure i would go as far as to say its a huge downgrade or its a step backwards, as stated above the onboard experience for those in Y is far better in the 777 to that of the 747.

That said, I am sad to see the 747 go from this route and i would love to see UA doing this with a VLA or at least double daily 777 at some point as the times i have flown this route, its always been packed to the gills. I know that does not tell the whole story but even with CX, UA I am sure can hold its own and some on the route.
 
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:45 am

Quoting ual777uk (Reply 11):
its always been packed to the gills.

I fly the HKG-SIN-HKG leg quite often with UA and I have yet to see the flight more than 50% full. Im sure the ORD-HKG-ORD is doing well, but I dont think the SIN add-on is?

Just my two cents.
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:38 am

Quoting cipango (Reply 12):
I fly the HKG-SIN-HKG leg quite often with UA and I have yet to see the flight more than 50%

Oh, I agree, that flight struggles on high loads, the 747 is way to big for that route, so I wonder if we might see the 777 on that in the not too distant future?
 
fun2fly
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:06 pm

Quoting Max Q (Reply 10):
That is a huge downgrade.


Another step backwards for United.

Not if you are in coach.

I wonder if they will go 10x or 14x weekly in the summer. In the past, they were 10x 744 so an increase should not be a stretch w/the loss of seats and previous demand.
 
AAplat4life
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:14 pm

It is good to hear that UA's ORd-HKG is still full given that CX flies the route now with a 777-300ER. Does anyone know how the route is working for CX.

BTW, I saw a UA 747 at ORD the other day in the Continental livery and thought it look great!
 
sw733
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:28 pm

Quoting AAplat4life (Reply 15):
Does anyone know how the route is working for CX.

I fly that route quite often (about 9x yearly) and it's always full. I know that doesn't translate to profit, but I do also notice a hefty amount of cargo being loaded on, especially ex-HKG.
 
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:36 pm

Quoting AAplat4life (Reply 15):
It is good to hear that UA's ORd-HKG is still full given that CX flies the route now with a 777-300ER. Does anyone know how the route is working for CX.

It is not doing badly although there are no increases planned in the coming year or two as far as I know. (Subject to planning changes obviously)
 
LAXintl
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:38 pm

Quoting ual777uk (Reply 13):
so I wonder if we might see the 777 on that in the not too distant future?

Yes with ORD-HKG becoming a 777, HKG-SIN also goes to 777. Effective March 31st.
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FlyingSicilian
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:49 pm

It is because of WN at Midway?... just kidding.


On a serious note, as others have mentioned from a Y perspective it is a nicer ride. Given what UA has said about the 747 base stategy at SFO this is not suprising.

As a business traveller I'd take a second frequency over an upgauge in most cases.
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:23 pm

Quoting CX Flyboy (Reply 17):
It is not doing badly although there are no increases planned in the coming year or two as far as I know. (Subject to planning changes obviously)

CXs focus right now is on its short-haul strategy, rather than deploying extra capacity to its existing network. It is VERY conservative when it comes to growing its network, which is perhaps why it has a higher rate of success in executing its business decisions over other major network carriers.
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fun2fly
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:54 pm

Quoting FlyingSicilian (Reply 19):
As a business traveller I'd take a second frequency over an upgauge in most cases.

Right on.

I guess UA is still respectable amongst US carriers w/772 from ORD and EWR and 744 from SFO, but they sure have handed over the market to CX for the most part who are generally flying larger a/c and more frequencies.
 
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:11 pm

Quoting FlyingSicilian (Reply 19):
As a business traveller I'd take a second frequency over an upgauge in most cases.

They have essentially already done that with the ORDNRT route as ANA is starting twice daily. The 787 issues have caused them to delay it but it's still happening eventually. I'm sure a lot of this is based on the loss in seats on the UA flight.
 
LAXintl
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:15 pm

Quoting fun2fly (Reply 21):
I guess UA is still respectable amongst US carriers w/772 from ORD and EWR and 744 from SFO, but they sure have handed over the market to CX for the most part who are generally flying larger a/c and more frequencies.

LOL

Of course CX will be bigger, its their home market. The US is a big market for them, but for United, HKG is merely 1 of 398 cities it serves globally.

At the end of the day, UA still has 7-odd flights from HKG, by far more then any other US airline ever. (go compare to DL - single daily NRT flight)
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UA772IAD
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:28 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 23):
Of course CX will be bigger, its their home market. The US is a big market for them, but for United, HKG is merely 1 of 398 cities it serves globally.

At the end of the day, UA still has 7-odd flights from HKG, by far more then any other US airline ever. (go compare to DL - single daily NRT flight)

Of course, the same can be said for United, which is "Chicago's Hometown Airline" (re: handing capacity over to CX on ORD-HKG).

I would be curious to see if United attempts any other HKG routes. LAX didn't make the cut with the 744- I'm wondering if UA will try it again once the 787s are airworthy and available in the UA fleet.

Does anyone have PDEW figures for Washington-Hong Kong or Houston - HK? (the only other UA hubs that could possibly support new service)

- Though, I would imagine if UA were to add any new East Asian services from IAD/IAH ICN would be a better candidate.
 
jayunited
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:36 pm

Quoting fun2fly (Reply 21):
I guess UA is still respectable amongst US carriers w/772 from ORD and EWR and 744 from SFO, but they sure have handed over the market to CX for the most part who are generally flying larger a/c and more frequencies.

United has not handed over the market to CX. Our current flight out of ORD averages about 93% load factor with first class and business class going out just about everyday and despite the fact that many people thought CX would steal passengers from United when they started their ORD-HKG route that simply has not happened. United's HKG flight continues to had high load factors. The reason United is now using the 777 is because of the closing of the ORD 747 base . However United will still be able to funnel some passengers who we will no longer be able to serve on our ORD flight through EWR, SFO, and NRT so while CX will continue to dominate the U.S.-HKG market United is not handing the market it over to them.
 
LAXintl
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:38 pm

Quoting UA772IAD (Reply 24):
LAX didn't make the cut with the 744- I'm wondering if UA will try it again once the 787s are airworthy and available in the UA fleet.

LAX-HKG was restarted with terrible timing in 2007. Within months fuel began its quick ascend peaking at $146/bbl in 2008. Flight was dead within 11 months.

Also another problem UA found was that flight was almost half made up of low yielding Vietnam passengers. While great feed for the SGN tag, not best revenue mix.

Quoting UA772IAD (Reply 24):
Does anyone have PDEW figures for Washington-Hong Kong

70

Quoting UA772IAD (Reply 24):
Houston - HK?

41

Quoting UA772IAD (Reply 24):
IAD/IAH ICN would be a better candidate.

Houston - 99
DC - 227


Speaking of ICN, there has been on/off talk of ORD-ICN again - PDEW - 481.
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Qantas744er
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:52 pm

Quoting Max Q (Reply 10):

That is a huge downgrade.


Another step backwards for United.

Are you aware of the blocked seats the 744 goes out with on the regular?

MZFW is 535,000lbs and the actual ZFW can be as low as 460k on bad days (stronger headwinds, non-optimal routings etc.) and around 490 on the best days. Either way the B744 is pushing its range limit on this route.

Used to be a summer only operation, with towing to the runway. The Stage III PW4056 upgrades helped a bit with fuel burn, but in any case the 744 is better utilized and suited for routes out of SFO.

United is extremely experienced at operating this polar routing including others such as ORD-PEK etc. and the 772 will do just fine on the route.
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UA772IAD
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:52 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 26):

I remember that now- UA867 routed (some domestic hub- DEN? IAD? on a narrow-body) - LAX - SGN. And oil was through the roof... thx for the refresher.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 26):
Quoting UA772IAD (Reply 24):
Does anyone have PDEW figures for Washington-Hong Kong

70

Bigger than I thought

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 26):
Quoting UA772IAD (Reply 24):
Houston - HK?

41

Smaller than I thought.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 26):
DC - 227


Speaking of ICN, there has been on/off talk of ORD-ICN again - PDEW - 481.

227 from DC. There are a lot of affluent Koreans/Korean-Americans in Northern Virginia along the US29 corridor, from Annandale to Chantilly. And with US-South Korea government/military ties there is definitely a market...
That being said, KE offers superior service, and Koreans would probably feel more at home on KE than on UA. IAD pax could certainly be routed via SFO, or on UA803 IAD-NRT and then UA881 NRT-ICN.

Would ORD-ICN fly with a 777 or 787, if restarted? Would be nice to see it again.

Thanks for the numbers!
 
LAXintl
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:00 pm

Quoting UA772IAD (Reply 28):
Smaller than I thought.

Biggest Houston - Far East markets not currently served directly are;

Ho Chi Minh, Manila, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai

Quoting UA772IAD (Reply 28):
Would ORD-ICN fly with a 777 or 787, if restarted? Would be nice to see it again.

There was talk of 777, but I've also heard talk of OZ increasing its own ORD service.

The 787 issues have thrown a wrench into 2013 plans for sure.
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airDFW
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:10 pm

Wow, and AA for this alliance hub has none, Wow

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 23):
At the end of the day, UA still has 7-odd flights from HKG, by far more then any other US airline ever. (go compare to DL - single daily NRT flight)
 
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:06 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 26):
70

Quoting UA772IAD (Reply 24):
Houston - HK?

41

Quoting UA772IAD (Reply 24):
IAD/IAH ICN would be a better candidate.

Houston - 99
DC - 227


Speaking of ICN, there has been on/off talk of ORD-ICN again - PDEW - 481.

I think those are round trip numbers. PDEW would be to divide that in half.
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CX Flyboy
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:28 pm

Quoting jayunited (Reply 25):
United has not handed over the market to CX. Our current flight out of ORD averages about 93% load factor with first class and business class going out just about everyday and despite the fact that many people thought CX would steal passengers from United when they started their ORD-HKG route that simply has not happened.

United's strong FFP with big giveaways is far more attractive than CX's one and thus there will always be people loyal to United despite a rival airline offering better service on newer aircraft.
 
Freshside3
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:59 am

Really and truly, this ORD-HKG has been problematic since day one. Heard too many horror stories about denied boardings and fuel stops(in ANC, especially). Although UA employees in ORD say there is definitely a market for this route, personally, I am skeptical. I think the plane would be better off out of SEA or LAX, or even get an additional frequency out of SFO.
 
jayunited
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:28 am

Quoting FreshSide3 (Reply 33):
Really and truly, this ORD-HKG has been problematic since day one. Heard too many horror stories about denied boardings and fuel stops(in ANC, especially). Although UA employees in ORD say there is definitely a market for this route, personally, I am skeptical. I think the plane would be better off out of SEA or LAX, or even get an additional frequency out of SFO.

Really so if your statement has any truth to it at all why has United been flying this route for the past 22+ years especially in light of the current price of gas? If this has been a problematic flight from the beginning why did United not cut the route they have cut many other problematic non performing routes why keep this one flying all these years?

Ever since United started flying the polar routes out of Chicago the ORD-HKG flight has not had to make a fuel stop in ANC. While there have been some fuel stops (do to extremely strong head winds) since we started flying the polar route those fuel stops don't happen frequently and when they do they land somewhere in Asia mostly PEK non days. And as far as denied boarding every flight experiences denied boardings and it does not happen that often. The flight mostly sees denied boarding a few days in the summer when it is extremely hot and humid in Chicago and most summer days it does not happen because they have already blocked about 25 seats in coach to prevent this from happening on a daily basis during that time. UA employees did not say there was a market for this route the market has determined that there is a market for this route and LAX is a great market as well but SEA I wonder who flies nonstop daily from SEA to HKG? Answer not a single airline is on that route. So what do you know that the airlines don't because if there was a large market between these two cities capable of supporting daily nonstop service I'm pretty sure CX would at least fly the route nonstop and probably DL now since they are build up their presence in SEA.
 
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aerorobnz
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:44 am

I would be chuffed to not be on the UA 744 ORD-HKG in Y. The most tired 744s in the sky possibly...
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Carpethead
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:20 am

Quoting jayunited (Reply 34):
United been flying this route for the past 22+ years

Not to nit pick, but are you sure of this? That would mean UA started the run almost right after they received the 744.
I thought it was started sometime in the mid-1990s.
I recall on the first few flights, they towed the 744 to the end of Runway 32L or 14R, started up the engines, and zoom it went.
 
Tdan
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:29 am

Quoting LAXdude1023 (Reply 31):
Quoting LAXintl (Reply 26):
70

Quoting UA772IAD (Reply 24):
Houston - HK?

41

Quoting UA772IAD (Reply 24):
IAD/IAH ICN would be a better candidate.

Houston - 99
DC - 227


Speaking of ICN, there has been on/off talk of ORD-ICN again - PDEW - 481.

I think those are round trip numbers. PDEW would be to divide that in half.

   Divide the numbers by two to get the PDEW numbers.

EWR-ICN needs to happen before ORD-ICN. Both routes would do well, but EWR-ICN would be a home-run.
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LAXintl
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:20 am

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 29):
There was talk of 777, but I've also heard talk of OZ increasing its own ORD service.

And as suggested prior.

OZ today internally announced it was increasing its ORD service effective July 22, 2013.

Guess it will be loaded in GDS coming week.
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WROORD
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:51 am

Quoting aerorobnz (Reply 35):
I would be chuffed to not be on the UA 744 ORD-HKG in Y. The most tired 744s in the sky possibly...

They are dated, but 747 saves almost an hour of flying as comapred to 777. I wonder why UA is not upgrading their 747s to 747-8I?
 
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AVENSAB727
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:53 am

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 29):
Quoting UA772IAD (Reply 28):
Smaller than I thought.

Biggest Houston - Far East markets not currently served directly are;

Ho Chi Minh, Manila, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai

I can see UA starting IAH-ICN and IAH-PVG
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winglets747
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RE: UA Downgauging ORD-HKG

Sat Mar 16, 2013 4:33 am

Quoting jayunited (Reply 25):
Our current flight out of ORD averages about 93% load factor with first class and business class going out just about everyday and despite the fact that many people thought CX would steal passengers from United when they started their ORD-HKG route that simply has not happened.

It's not as deathly as others have made it out, but not as rosy as the above suggests.

Jim Crompton during earnings call: "Particularly in Hong Kong. We faced -- we've talked about increased competition in Chicago-Hong Kong. But Hong Kong, in general, the industry capacity is about up 20% in the first quarter, we're down about 2%. We managed capacity down a little bit with some holiday cancellations and so forth. Quite frankly, that's put pressure on our PRASM in that part of the world in Asia."
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