avi8
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UA's Operations

Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:50 am

Hey y'all! I'm just very curious as to how United, or any other airline actually, manages their airplanes through out the hubs. By this I mean, do they base certain aircraft on certain hubs or do they just rotate them around through each of their hubs? For example: Does IAH have a certain number of Airbuses and 737's based there or does it vary depending on the day?

Another question I have is: Do airlines banks decrease airplane utilization? I know it does, but some hubs seem to have so many flights (ATL) that it makes it seem like they can quickly rotate the aircraft and put it back in the air. Does this mean that DL at ATL has better aircraft utilization?

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Avi8
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AVENSAB727
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RE: UA's Operations

Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:51 am

Quoting avi8 (Thread starter):
Does IAH have a certain number of Airbuses and 737's based there or does it vary depending on the day?

I think it varies daily.
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DualQual
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RE: UA's Operations

Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:01 am

Airplanes are not physically based or assigned to any hub. Crew are but the planes rotate throughout the system.
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roseflyer
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RE: UA's Operations

Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:10 am

I will take a stab at the first question. US airlines do not base airplanes tail numbers at each hub. The airplanes move about the network. Ere may be us fleets based out of certain airports such as UA having domestic ETOPS 757s based out of LAX and SFO and business elite 757s out of EWR, but each sub fleet usually moves around the entire network operated by that sub fleet. AA in the past isolated 737s to MIA and MD80s to ORD, but event within that operation the airplanes all routed throughout the network. UA has moved the entire 747 fleet to SFO, but each airplane tail number flies every route, the same way they used to when they had 2-3 routes out of ORD.

There is a difference between closed routes ( isolating specific planes to a specific set of routes) and managing a sub fleet. UA does not used closed routings, but does isolate entire subfleets.

Closed routing airplanes is bad for the maintenance. It is harder to get airplanes to airports to do maintenance since most airlines do A Checks for an individual fleet at only a few airports. Also it makes the hours and cycles not match up which again is bad for scheduling maintenance. For example the 16 ETOPS PMUA airplanes fly to Hawaii and tend to have longer segments. Maintenance times have to be adjusted for these planes because the hours /cycle ratio does not match the rest if the fleet.

The one exception at UA has been with the IPTE 777s and non IPTE 777s as they have been working through the reconfiguration. For the last few months, they had the 3 old config 777s in a closed SFO HNL NRT SEA NRT HNL SFO routing. This was to offer a more consistent product.
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tommy767
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RE: UA's Operations

Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:54 am

lots of 319/320s and 737s are out of IAH for certain. Seems like 757s have scaled back a bit at IAH. Likely in favor of retirements plus deployments to LAX, SFO, EWR, ORD, DEN etc.

To give you perspective -- EWR usually gets 8-14 sUA 757s departures per day. It's likely a LITTLE more down at IAH but not by much
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Schweigend
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RE: UA's Operations

Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:05 am

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 3):
UA does not used closed routings, but does isolate entire subfleets.

You are correct, but there is the Guam hub to think of too. UA has isolated five or eight 738s at GUM for service to Japan, China, Micronesia, MNL, CNS, and the "island-hopper", etc. I believe some of these 738s may also rotate through NRT as intra-Asia tag-ons from intercontinental widebody flights. MX handled by GUM staff.

They also operate 772s in the domestic layout (36F/312Y with 36" pitch in F) from GUM to NRT and HNL. Probably only two or three are assigned to that routing, and they likely flow to SFO, ORD, or IAD from HNL.

Once United completes its reconfiguration of a handful of 777s to its new "Hawaii" config. (J will be recliner-style, like former Int'l J before the lie-flats), those will be dedicated to HNL and GUM.

Of course, like you say, planes do flow through the system, and an IPTE 777 could be substituted for an HI-777 if needed. It is unlikely that the reverse would occur!
 
 
atct
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RE: UA's Operations

Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:20 am

Guam also has at least 1 737-700.

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UALFAson
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RE: UA's Operations

Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:25 am

As for your second question, I think you answered it yourself. Yes, the goal of airlines is to keep their planes in the air as much as possible. But they can go about it different ways. Southwest increases utilization during the day by scheduling short turns. JetBlue, for example, increases their utilization rate by scheduling red-eyes, which WN does not. Is one approach better than the other if they result in a similar overall daily utilization?

Also, the last part asks is DL at ATL's utilization better. Better than what? Better than UA or AA at ORD, both of which are also large hub operations where "they can quickly rotate the aircraft and put it back in the air"? There are typically several banks of flights at a hub airport per day, especially domestically. In most cases, it's not like aircraft are sitting around waiting for their one daily flight. A couple of exceptions to this are U.S. airline flights to deep South America, like EZE, GRU, and GIG, and some Middle East destinations where airlines have actually decided it is more profitable to decrease aircraft utilization in order to offer flights at times when customers would prefer to travel. In those cases, the aircraft may sit on the ground for an extended period of time, but that is the exception.
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ANITIX87
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RE: UA's Operations

Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:39 pm

Here's a question I've always had.

Let's say an airline has eight 737s, serving EWR/IAH/LAX/ORD. Do they, for simplicity, have all the 737s running the same cycle of routes?

I.E.:
737 #1 - EWR - IAH - LAX - ORD
737 #2 - IAH - LAX - ORD - EWR
737 #3 - LAX - ORD - EWR - IAH
737 #4 - ORD - EWR - IAH - LAX
737 #5 thru #8 - Opposite of above (#5 does #1 in reverse, etc)

This question stems from LX's operations. I know they have an A330 doing ZRH - JFK - GVA - JFK - ZRH as a two-day trip, but is this part of a larger sequence that every A330 follows, or not?

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jgarrido
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RE: UA's Operations

Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:23 pm

Quoting atct (Reply 6):

I think it's up to 3 now.
 
roseflyer
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RE: UA's Operations

Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:30 pm

Quoting Schweigend (Reply 5):

You are correct, but there is the Guam hub to think of too. UA has isolated five or eight 738s at GUM for service to Japan, China, Micronesia, MNL, CNS, and the "island-hopper", etc. I believe some of these 738s may also rotate through NRT as intra-Asia tag-ons from intercontinental widebody flights. MX handled by GUM staff.

True. Up until recently Micronesia was a separate airline on a separate operating certificate, but now it is an isolated fleet. Because the operating environment is so much different than the typical 737 in the UA fleet, I wouldn't be surprised if they had a separate maintenance program unique to those airplanes. Salt spray and sand can cause a lot of corrosion on a plane.

Quoting Schweigend (Reply 5):

They also operate 772s in the domestic layout (36F/312Y with 36" pitch in F) from GUM to NRT and HNL. Probably only two or three are assigned to that routing, and they likely flow to SFO, ORD, or IAD from HNL.

There are 6 configured in 36F/312Y, and they all freely rotated through the routes to HNL. When one of them had maintenance or went out of service, the only plane with enough capacity to cover them is a 747, which is why occasionally 747s showed up on SFO-HNL.
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777ord
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RE: UA's Operations

Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:19 pm

Also need to make clear that SA)">UA does have a fleet that is restricted to one base: 744@ SFO. Having been on the last 744 from ORD a couple weeks ago, its clear that those planes NEED to be in one place to really be made more appealing for customers.

As a SA)">UA employee, I can tell you that (as has been stated above) that our planes do tend to have some routine to them. If you 're at one of our hubs you'll see plenty of them just sitting out somewhere. And, when looking at our aircraft routing system "GUI", you'll frequently see multiple 73's etc... just sitting at an airport for days.

Our SA)">CO 777's tend to do repeat routes for quite some time. LHR will turn LHR over and over and then randomly stretch her legs to TLV. Then, sit for 9 or so hrs in EWR, and do HKG SAME DAY. Incredible dispatch reliability!!!! (rant: to think how precise these planes fly to go from TLV-EWR-HKG and back with no problems- INCREDIBLE!!!)

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