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NWA Like SC, Commited To 747, No Plans For A380

Fri Aug 03, 2001 11:43 pm

FYI, I saw this article, thought I'd pass it along:

Despite an industry downturn that has seen Northwest and other airlines post
significant financial loses, the St. Paul, Minn.-based carrier will not delay
delivery of the Boeing planes it has ordered.

Northwest has even decided to accelerate delivery of some Boeing 757-200s
as it reduces operation of older DC-10s, Northwest President Doug
Steenland said yesterday.

In an interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Steenland also said
Northwest is committed to The Boeing Co.'s jumbo, the 747, and has no
plans "in the foreseeable future" to order the Airbus A380 superjumbo.

Northwest is also interested in Boeing's proposed sonic cruiser, he said.

Steenland was at Sea-Tac Airport to
participate in the opening of two new
Northwest facilities -- a
151,000-square-foot maintenance
hangar and a 55,000-square-foot
cargo hangar. Construction of the $45
million hangars began in June 2000.
They replace Northwest hangars that
were in an area designated for
expansion of the passenger terminal.

Northwest, the nation's fourth-largest
airline, is the largest international airline operating out of Sea-Tac. It was one
of the first to operate there when it opened in 1947.

"These new facilities represent our solid commitment to this region and to
Sea-Tac specifically," Steenland said in remarks to several hundred Northwest
employees and port officials.

Earlier this month, Northwest joined most other major U.S. carriers in
reporting a loss in what's normally the most profitable quarter -- the second --
for airlines. Sales at Northwest fell nearly 6 percent, and the airline said it
would eliminate 1,500 jobs, or about 2.8 percent of its U.S. work force.

"Airlines are facing a series of economic challenges now," Steenland said

""But as these new buildings attest, what we are doing is investing for the future
and spending money necessary to make sure we are strategically positioned ...
so when the economy turns and when things straighten out, we are positioned
for a strong and robust future both here in Seattle and other parts of our

Earlier this year, Northwest ordered about $5 billion worth of jets from Boeing
and Airbus, including 18 Boeing 757-300s and two 747-400s for delivery
beginning next year.

The 757-300s will replace aging DC-10s on domestic routes, while the Airbus
A330-300s will replace the older planes on international routes.

"That's a positive economic move for us," Steenland said in the interview.
'That's not something we would cancel."

He also said Northwest continues to talk with Boeing and Airbus about a
longer-range plane to serve Europe from its new $1.2 billion midfield terminal
at Detroit's Metro Airport, which will open in December.

Boeing has been pitching Northwest a longer-range version of the 757-200.

Even though Airbus is keen to place its 555-passenger A380 with a U.S.
airline -- so far only FedEx in this country has ordered the plane -- Steenland
said Northwest likes the 420-passenger 747-400.

"For the foreseeable future, our widebody, longer-range needs can be met
with the 747-400," he said.

Northwest is among the airlines Boeing is talking to regarding the sonic cruiser,
which would fly just shy of the speed of sound, or about 15 percent to 20
percent faster than today's commercial jetliners.

The airline now uses three planes to serve its New York to Tokyo route.

"With the shorter elapsed (flight) times that the sonic cruiser might allow, we
might be able to do that route with two planes and that would represent a fairly
substantial savings," Steenland said.

"It's still early to make those kinds of judgments, but when you look at what
kinds of doors get opened when an airplane has this kind of operating criteria,
that's one that most immediately comes to mind."
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RE: NWA Like SC, Commited To 747, No Plans For A380

Fri Aug 03, 2001 11:58 pm

I think NW right now is looking at the following in terms of future fleet requirements:

1. Replacing the DC-10's. The A330-300 will replace the D10's on transatlantic service and the 757-300 will replace most of the D10's in domestic service. We may see a complete phaseout of D10's by more A333's bought on a follow-on order by 2009.

2. Replacing the DC-9's. I see a split of more A319's for NW's mainline fleet and a substantial RJ buy for Mesaba (Northwest Airlink) that will finally ground the D9's by 2010 at latest.

3. Replacing the 747-200's. I expect NW to keep flying the 747-200 until 2008-2010, the replace them with 747-400ER's. They'll be primarily used for transpacific flights and flights from NW's NRT hub to other parts of Asia. If the economic situation is better NW might even seriously look at buying the A340-600, given the strong commonality between the A333 and A346.
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RE: NWA Like SC, Commited To 747, No Plans For A380

Sat Aug 04, 2001 12:37 am

Thanks for posting.
I guess you´re right in general, RayChuang, and I also think NW will still have some 747 Classics by the end of this decade, but expect Northwest replacing some, maybe more than a dozen 742s, in the next 5 years with 747-400. The most senior handful of 742s will be 30 years old soon.
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RE: NWA Like SC, Commited To 747, No Plans For A380

Sat Aug 04, 2001 2:06 am

Well, it's certain that NWA is in need of some serious upgrading and renewal to its fleet. However, I question the purchase of the 757-300, because it has Rolls-Royce engines. Wouldn't NWA be trying to keep some commonality among its aircraft to reduce maintenance expenses? Right now, they fly PW-powered 727s, 747s, 757s, DC-10-40s and DC-9s, and they are buying lots of new CFM-powered Airbuses, in addition to their A319s, A320s. As well, they have GE CF6-powered DC-10-30s. Seems the RR-engined 757-300 would be a bit of an oddball in an all-Airbus fleet. Any comments?
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RE: NWA Like SC, Commited To 747, No Plans For A380

Sat Aug 04, 2001 2:51 am

The 757-300 is offered with P&W engines, like the -200 so I would imagine, since NW is not a business stupid airline, like many here seem to think, they'll go with the pratts.

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RE: NWA Like SC, Commited To 747, No Plans For A380

Sat Aug 04, 2001 3:31 am

The NW 753's have will have Pratt Engines.

The RJ's that Express I and Mesaba are getting are only going to be 44 seats. This is way too small to replace DC-9's. Look for more A319's and either an order of 717's or A318's.

The 747 replacement is going to be between A340-500 and 600 series and the 772 and 773. I hear they are leaning toward the 777.
Chicks dig winglets.
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RE: NWA Like SC, Commited To 747, No Plans For A380

Sat Aug 04, 2001 3:43 am

NWA will probably replace all its 742s with second hand 744s. With no shortage of sellers, NW should be able to cut some deals with airlines wanting to phase out or reduce their 744 fleets. Why introduce another subtype (345/6) when NW can get 744s?
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RE: NWA Like SC, Commited To 747, No Plans For A380

Sat Aug 04, 2001 3:45 am

Because the 744's are too big. Also, the 744's are treated as a different fleet anyways. They have a different hangar for them and everything. NW is expanding the 744 fleet some, but the 742 replacement has already been said by management to be between the 777 and A340 series.
Chicks dig winglets.

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