Fargo wrote:gwrudolph wrote:LAXdude1023 wrote:
This is too simplistic.
ORD is UA's jack of all trades hub. It has a massive domestic network as well as service to many cities in Europe and Asia, and service to Mexico and Brazil.
SFO is UA's Asia's gateway with significant domestic and European service.
EWR is UA's Europe gateway with significant domestic and Asian service.
IAH is UA's Latin America gateway with significant domestic service, a few Europe routes and an NRT flight.
DEN is UA's Rocky Mountain gateway and 2nd largest domestic hub, with an NRT, seasonal LHR, and FRA (coming soon) flight.
LAX and IAD are focus cities that cater more to O&D than connections though that seems to be shifting at IAD.
If you are UA, where would you put those brand new aircraft at first? SFO and EWR have the largest numbers of long haul flights and have the best mix of O&D and connections of the hub. It makes perfect sense.
ORD is the most well rounded UA hub and as such has a slightly higher emphasis on domestic connections. It will get them, but I can see SFO and EWR being a higher priority because it has a higher ratio of O&D to connections and O&D traffic is typically higher yield.
IAH is just as international as EWR or SFO for the UA network, but the majority of its international network is short haul and medium haul. This is no urgent need for brand new long haul aircraft based on that. The long haul flights to/from IAH are typically operated on pre-merger CO 777's which are not as archaic as the pre-merger UA ones. The 767-300 also does the job pretty well for the South America network. Putting something like 787-1000 is way too many seats for routes like IAH-SCL/GRU/GIG/LIM. IAH is ok for now.
DEN is self explanatory.
LAX and IAD have some high yielding international flights but I would think it would be harder to base those aircraft there because they dont have the number of premium long hauls that EWR and SFO have.
Their decision makes sense to me.
Honestly, I think their strategy is more about getting the right-sized and right efficiency aircraft positioned for the missions a particular hub is built around. Most of their long dense routes (perfect for the 77W) are from EWR and SFO while many of their long thinner routes (perfect for the 788/9) are from SFO, LAX, and IAD. They are also wisely concentrating some of these smaller fleets in certain hubs to make sure they have maximum operational flexibility and crew resourcing efficiency. The 763 and 77E/As work perfectly for most of ORD's missions, so they use the 77Ws and 788/9s where they make the most impact.
I suspect once the 788/9/10s fleet is 60 frames, you might start to see more of them at ORD and/or IAH, but I really don't think they need the 77W at ORD, IAH, or IAD as much as they need them at EWR and SFO. Since the fleet isn't going to ever grow beyond 18, I doubt you'll ever see them in any big way at ORD, IAH, or IAD.
It’s not so much the 77W’s, I’m more surprised we don’t see any UA 787’s at ORD at all. Granted, I suspect we’ll see some in due time. If UA were to launch ORD-TLV (which I have to imagine is on the horizon, given UA’s recent expansion at TLV and Chicago now being the largest unserved market in the US from Israel), I could see it being 3-4x weekly on a 789 to start.
Maybe if UA orders more 788’s to replace the 767’s, they’ll end up in Chicago as well.
ORD is the only hub that doesn’t see the 787. AA is promoting the plane for ORD-LHR / International flights in news releases.
ORD rarely sees the 77W which would be great for HKG, but no regularly scheduled service on any routes.
ORD doesn’t see the Max, but that may be good.
ORD has not seen a new long-haul route in years while all other hubs have.
UA seems to be fine using 20+ year old planes at ORD and letting partners expand (NZ, TP, AV, NH to HND, LH 2nd to MUC, etc.).