jfklganyc wrote:CO was a much smaller airline and was laser-focused on EWR.
When you merge with a much larger airline, things that made sense before me not make sense now. There are also other priorities for the new larger airline.
These routes were obviously some-what successful for CO. They lasted a while.
But maybe UA, with other major gateways, wasnt interested in secondary cities on narrowbodies once a day to EWR?
Think there is a little more to why UA began to pare back some of the 757 TATL service it inherited with the CO merger, but the value of EWR to UA is no less important than it was to CO pre-merger and if anything, had only become more of a focus for UA pre-COVID19. The issue for CO was that it always had a shortage of wide body planes. It operated a total of 21 777-200ERs, 16 B767-400ERs, and 10 B767-200ERs by the time the merger got underway. It was, as you say, a much smaller airline (alternating between #4 and #5 in the old, pre-industry consolidation pecking order). The 757 were the right sized plane for many markets that could otherwise not sustain a wide body, year-round, even on a reduced weekly schedule in the off peak season. It was also the right sized plane to feed traffic onto CO's 737 heavy domestic flying out of EWR pre-merger and that, combined with a strong economy until 2008 and rising demand, were part of what made these flights successful. CO also had a niche product then, operating a hub under one roof (well, with Terminal A gates used for some flights) at the time when others were not quite there yet (Delta was just launching its focus on the NY market after exiting Chapter 11 in 2007. B6 was smaller then, and AA was flailing, hoping to rely on a weird code share with B6 to fill what it had at JFK).
The CO/UA merger was a mess from the start. Plagued with IT issues, labor-management headaches, supremely incompetent leadership from both sides, and it took the combined airlines from 2010 to 2018 to right the ship. UA needed a lot of the younger CO 757s (including the -300s which weren't used on TATL routes) to fill the gaps in its domestic route network, which had become weak relative to DL and AA. UA's own 757s were also in bad shape, older, and like many of UA's planes during the 2002 to 2006 bankruptcy, a lot of long term maintenance was deferred to reduce costs. The CO 757s had the right product at the time to replace the UA 757s operating the NYC/LAX and SFO markets which until 2014 were flown from EWR and JFK (UA's departure from JFK was further evidence of how poorly managed an entity it was post merger). The long, thin routes out of EWR were either not strong performers post merger, or subsidies were running dry or not enough to sustain. It also took the merged and enlarged UA a while to wake up and realize that the EWR hub needed to be optimized to cater to O&D and less through traffic, which was problematic at a delay-prone airport. Many but not all the PM-UA 757s were eventually retired and the CO 757s covered for a lot of domestic and some international routes (existing and later expansion) like LIS, KEF, SNN, EDI, GLA, ARN, etc...The merger allowed the CO operation to up-gauge to larger 767-300ERs on a number of profitable routes served with the 757 (TXL for instance) and eventually, as the operation smoothed out, the 763/764 became the backbone of the TATL fleet ex-EWR. The 777s were increasingly focused (out of EWR) on BOM, DEL, HKG, NRT, TLV and for a time BRU. From there, the 77W's could replace some 772s, some 772s replaced some 767s (in some cases seasonally), freeing up what was left to upsize from 757 to 767, etc...