I don't yet agree with those that quickly write off the 772As. Disregarding maintenance status for a moment, the A units perform a unique role that no other aircraft in the fleet can cover well. Sure, you could temporarily throw surplus 787s, 767s, and international 777s in place of the 772A, but the configurations are not ideal for the mission (the 78X and low-J 763s aren't terrible though, but they're crucial for other missions too), and since we're talking a short-term environment where reducing trip cost is key, the international 777s are even worse. I see the -ER fleet getting pared down harder than the A fleet. That's the true excess/expensive/older capacity in the fleet that can be replaced by other aircraft. The new interior is a sunk cost. Hurts to retire it, but it has to be essentially ignored.
The 77A’s don’t make any sense on hub to hub routes when not constrained by a shortage of narrow bodies. On a fuel basis they essentially burn what two 739ER’s would and carry just less than double the pax. It’s better to fly two narrow bodies (or only one If demand is light) than the 77A.
The only place they make sense are ORD/IAH/DEN-Hawaii since the narrowbodies don’t have the range. Assuming you can fill them, their CASM is quite better than 767 (non 76L) which would be the next logistic choice. Also, they make some sense from SFO to Hawaii due to ability to carry premium freight.
HNL-GUM also makes some sense on the HD 777 config.
The HD 77E config can also cover IAD/EWR to Hawaii and take significant freight. With the 764’s going bye-bye, they’re probably the only aircraft other than the 30J 767’s that could work. The 78J would work decently well from a seating breakdown perspective but the scheduling isn’t ideal.
I’m not sure whether it makes sense to convert more 77E’s into the new HD config for standardization (the seating is quite different from the two 77A configs) or just keep the A’s models that are newest / most time remaining.
Since the conversations usually occur during a heavy check, and most of the seats already exist, the cost to convert is rather minimal.
I would expect the HD 77E will get some paper derates to reduce landing costs and potentially engine maintenance cost.
They’d need just 10-12 frames to cover the Hawaii flying. Half the current fleet ...
The other 77A’s should be goners or at least sit in long term storage for a while.