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doulasc
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why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 3:33 am

American Airlines took delivery of 16 Boeing 747-123s in 1970-71,by 1976 half of the fleet was converted to freighters leaving about 8 for passenger service.What was up with this? The freighters were gone by 1980 and the passenger 747s left the fleet in 1984.Did the fuel crisis of 1973 had something to do with this and more DC-10s coming into the AA fleet?
 
ikramerica
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 3:44 am

1. They didn’t need them
2. Deregulation
3. DC10

AA747 was the first I flew on. Was a little kid and I fell asleep in the upper deck lounge.
 
Ziyulu
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 3:50 am

Does anyone know if AA ever considered other 747 versions such as the 200, 300, or 400 series?
 
dcajet
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 3:58 am

Ziyulu wrote:
Does anyone know if AA ever considered other 747 versions such as the 200, 300, or 400 series?


Not sure. but I´d say no. That said, in 1986 they got 2 ex TWA 747SP-31 to operate the route to Narita from DFW.
 
n9801f
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 4:30 am

Ziyulu wrote:
Does anyone know if AA ever considered other 747 versions such as the 200, 300, or 400 series?

IIRC American briefly owned 2 747-400's in the -90's, though it never flew them.

At the time there were frequency limits for US-Japan. AA was competing with UA in a route case for a new route and frequency on ORD-NRT. To make its bid equivalent to UA's, AA bought 2 of Canadian Airlines' (CP) 744 delivery slots - AA had a strong alliance with CP at the time.

Ultimately UA won the route case (AA lost) and I'm pretty sure AA sold the 744's right back to CP even before they came off the assembly line.

Separately, around 1990 AA procured and flew 2 used SP's for DFW-NRT.

Perhaps others here can refine or correct details.
 
mga707
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 6:43 am

n9801f wrote:
Ziyulu wrote:
Does anyone know if AA ever considered other 747 versions such as the 200, 300, or 400 series?

IIRC American briefly owned 2 747-400's in the -90's, though it never flew them.

At the time there were frequency limits for US-Japan. AA was competing with UA in a route case for a new route and frequency on ORD-NRT. To make its bid equivalent to UA's, AA bought 2 of Canadian Airlines' (CP) 744 delivery slots - AA had a strong alliance with CP at the time.

Ultimately UA won the route case (AA lost) and I'm pretty sure AA sold the 744's right back to CP even before they came off the assembly line.

Separately, around 1990 AA procured and flew 2 used SP's for DFW-NRT.

Perhaps others here can refine or correct details.


Details on AA's two SPs, info from 'Boeing 747SP', Great Airliners series vol 3, by Brian Baum:

LN 439, ex-TWA N57202, purchased by AA July 1986, re-reg N601AA, operated by AA from May 1987 until July 1992, sold to Kazakhstan Airlines.

LN441, ex-TWA N57203, purchased by AA October 1986, re-reg N602AA, operated by AA from May 1987 until July 1992, sold to Govt. of Dubai.

From personal recollection, the two aircraft were refurbished at Pinal Air Park, Marana AZ, following their purchase by AA. They were retired and sold after AA began taking delivery of MD-11s.
 
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flyingclrs727
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 7:14 am

Ziyulu wrote:
Does anyone know if AA ever considered other 747 versions such as the 200, 300, or 400 series?


AA never bought any later versions. Robert Crandall didn't want to buy planes with more than 2 engines. They did acquire some 747SP's as a result of buying TWA's rights at LHR. The 747SP's were used for DFW-NRT flights prior to acquisition of MD-11's. Disappointment with the below expected performance of the MD-11's caused AA to order the 777-200ER from Boeing.
 
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Aaron747
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 8:11 am

doulasc wrote:
American Airlines took delivery of 16 Boeing 747-123s in 1970-71,by 1976 half of the fleet was converted to freighters leaving about 8 for passenger service.What was up with this? The freighters were gone by 1980 and the passenger 747s left the fleet in 1984.Did the fuel crisis of 1973 had something to do with this and more DC-10s coming into the AA fleet?


Many early 747 operators found that they were suddenly way over capacity on many routes they were deployed on. AA was no exception.
 
ContinentalEWR
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 1:11 pm

flyingclrs727 wrote:
Ziyulu wrote:
Does anyone know if AA ever considered other 747 versions such as the 200, 300, or 400 series?


AA never bought any later versions. Robert Crandall didn't want to buy planes with more than 2 engines. They did acquire some 747SP's as a result of buying TWA's rights at LHR. The 747SP's were used for DFW-NRT flights prior to acquisition of MD-11's. Disappointment with the below expected performance of the MD-11's caused AA to order the 777-200ER from Boeing.


No, AA acquired the 747-SPs from TWA in the mid-1980s to launch DFW-NRT. At the time, AA had no other aircraft capable of operating that route. The MD11s were not yet on property, and the DC10 and 767, the only other wide body in the AA fleet at the time, did not have the range to fly DFW-NRT. AA would start taking delivery of A300-600s in 1988 but those planes too did not have the range to fly DFW-NRT. TWA found no success and really no need for the SP and got rid of them by the mid-1980s. I don't recall if the SP were withdrawn but still owned by TWA or sold to a third party, then acquired by AA, but the frames AA acquired for NRT were the ex-TWA planes.

The 747SP's were moved off DFW-NRT in 1991 to operate JFK-LHR when it launched, in July 1991, as a consequence of the acquisition of TWA's LHR routes. DFW-NRT went MD11. For a brief time in 1992-93, AA ended up flying one SP on JFK-BRU. The SP's were a stop gap for AA on LHR until more 763s and the MD11s arrived, as the 1990 acquisition of EA"s Latin America network and the Miami hub developed required what 762/763 they had at the time to shift to many Latin America routes.

Correct. The MD11 did not live up to expectations range-wide, was expensive to operate, and was a trigger for the 777 order, which came in late 1996 with deliveries beginning in 1999.

TWA took delivery of the 747SP in 1980 (3 or 4, total). They were bought principally because the 747-100 struggled on LHR-LAX, and a few other routes like TLV-JFK and ATH-JFK in winter time. TWA also acquired the 747SP because it anticipated getting NRT rights, which never happened. They ended up on a number of routes, spread across the map, including the short lived JFK-KWI-BOM and were otherwise used as subs for 741-742s on JFK-FCO, JFK-MXP, and plenty of other TATL routes for a few years, before being pulled. I think they never took delivery of the 3rd or 4th. 2 went to AA, the third to an Emirate government as a VIP aicraft. Not sure where the fourth plane went.
 
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yyz717
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 2:50 pm

ikramerica wrote:
1. They didn’t need them
2. Deregulation
3. DC10

AA747 was the first I flew on. Was a little kid and I fell asleep in the upper deck lounge.

I would add:
4. Fuel crisis in 1973.
5. Too large for AA's network.
6. Partial replacement for AA's recently retired 707-323C freighters.
 
mga707
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 6:35 pm

Aaron747 wrote:
doulasc wrote:
American Airlines took delivery of 16 Boeing 747-123s in 1970-71,by 1976 half of the fleet was converted to freighters leaving about 8 for passenger service.What was up with this? The freighters were gone by 1980 and the passenger 747s left the fleet in 1984.Did the fuel crisis of 1973 had something to do with this and more DC-10s coming into the AA fleet?


Many early 747 operators found that they were suddenly way over capacity on many routes they were deployed on. AA was no exception.


The 'conventional wisdom' among AA employees in the '70s was that the only route that the 747-123s was really needed on was JFK-SJU. All of the other routes it was on could be better handled by DC-10s.
 
MrBretz
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 6:45 pm

As a kid, I was on AA’s inaugural flight from LAX to JFK. It’s a nice memory.
 
FLYFIRSTCLASS
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 8:15 pm

doulasc wrote:
American Airlines took delivery of 16 Boeing 747-123s in 1970-71,by 1976 half of the fleet was converted to freighters leaving about 8 for passenger service.What was up with this? The freighters were gone by 1980 and the passenger 747s left the fleet in 1984.Did the fuel crisis of 1973 had something to do with this and more DC-10s coming into the AA fleet?


The freighters were actually around till 1984 as well, my Dad was a check airman on the 747 for AA. After the 747s retired he went back to the DC10 till the 747sp's came on property flew 3 months on them and said "Im done" called up and retired.
 
skipness1E
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 9:30 pm

There must have been an impact on the balance sheet having a new flagship Boeing hauling cargo at six years old?
 
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TVNWZ
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 10:32 pm

skipness1E wrote:
There must have been an impact on the balance sheet having a new flagship Boeing hauling cargo at six years old?


Depends on how much they made on those cargo flights.
 
AAIL86
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 11:11 pm

n9801f wrote:
Ziyulu wrote:
Does anyone know if AA ever considered other 747 versions such as the 200, 300, or 400 series?

IIRC American briefly owned 2 747-400's in the -90's, though it never flew them.

At the time there were frequency limits for US-Japan. AA was competing with UA in a route case for a new route and frequency on ORD-NRT. To make its bid equivalent to UA's, AA bought 2 of Canadian Airlines' (CP) 744 delivery slots - AA had a strong alliance with CP at the time.

Ultimately UA won the route case (AA lost) and I'm pretty sure AA sold the 744's right back to CP even before they came off the assembly line.

Separately, around 1990 AA procured and flew 2 used SP's for DFW-NRT.

Perhaps others here can refine or correct details.


Yes, you are correct about the 747-400s.

https://www.upi.com/Archives/1990/08/07 ... 650001600/
 
Seat1F
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 11:23 pm

I think AA struggled to find a useful fit for the 747-100 in the 1970's. They had few long-haul international routes at the time. I remember seeing them at DTW for runs to ORD. Obviously, that made no sense. UA also used the 747 from DTW to ORD...although that flight was a tag that continued on from ORD to HNL.
 
cschleic
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 11:40 pm

ContinentalEWR wrote:
flyingclrs727 wrote:
Ziyulu wrote:
Does anyone know if AA ever considered other 747 versions such as the 200, 300, or 400 series?


AA never bought any later versions. Robert Crandall didn't want to buy planes with more than 2 engines. They did acquire some 747SP's as a result of buying TWA's rights at LHR. The 747SP's were used for DFW-NRT flights prior to acquisition of MD-11's. Disappointment with the below expected performance of the MD-11's caused AA to order the 777-200ER from Boeing.


No, AA acquired the 747-SPs from TWA in the mid-1980s to launch DFW-NRT. At the time, AA had no other aircraft capable of operating that route. The MD11s were not yet on property, and the DC10 and 767, the only other wide body in the AA fleet at the time, did not have the range to fly DFW-NRT. AA would start taking delivery of A300-600s in 1988 but those planes too did not have the range to fly DFW-NRT. TWA found no success and really no need for the SP and got rid of them by the mid-1980s. I don't recall if the SP were withdrawn but still owned by TWA or sold to a third party, then acquired by AA, but the frames AA acquired for NRT were the ex-TWA planes.

The 747SP's were moved off DFW-NRT in 1991 to operate JFK-LHR when it launched, in July 1991, as a consequence of the acquisition of TWA's LHR routes. DFW-NRT went MD11. For a brief time in 1992-93, AA ended up flying one SP on JFK-BRU. The SP's were a stop gap for AA on LHR until more 763s and the MD11s arrived, as the 1990 acquisition of EA"s Latin America network and the Miami hub developed required what 762/763 they had at the time to shift to many Latin America routes.

Correct. The MD11 did not live up to expectations range-wide, was expensive to operate, and was a trigger for the 777 order, which came in late 1996 with deliveries beginning in 1999.

TWA took delivery of the 747SP in 1980 (3 or 4, total). They were bought principally because the 747-100 struggled on LHR-LAX, and a few other routes like TLV-JFK and ATH-JFK in winter time. TWA also acquired the 747SP because it anticipated getting NRT rights, which never happened. They ended up on a number of routes, spread across the map, including the short lived JFK-KWI-BOM and were otherwise used as subs for 741-742s on JFK-FCO, JFK-MXP, and plenty of other TATL routes for a few years, before being pulled. I think they never took delivery of the 3rd or 4th. 2 went to AA, the third to an Emirate government as a VIP aicraft. Not sure where the fourth plane went.


Although AA must have used the SPs on other routes besides DFW - NRT. Somewhere I have a photo of one at LHR.
 
n9801f
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Sun Jan 16, 2022 11:53 pm

AAIL86 wrote:

Yes, you are correct about the 747-400s.

https://www.upi.com/Archives/1990/08/07 ... 650001600/


Thank you very much for this!

It's really helpful.
 
ContinentalEWR
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Mon Jan 17, 2022 1:27 am

cschleic wrote:
ContinentalEWR wrote:
flyingclrs727 wrote:

AA never bought any later versions. Robert Crandall didn't want to buy planes with more than 2 engines. They did acquire some 747SP's as a result of buying TWA's rights at LHR. The 747SP's were used for DFW-NRT flights prior to acquisition of MD-11's. Disappointment with the below expected performance of the MD-11's caused AA to order the 777-200ER from Boeing.


No, AA acquired the 747-SPs from TWA in the mid-1980s to launch DFW-NRT. At the time, AA had no other aircraft capable of operating that route. The MD11s were not yet on property, and the DC10 and 767, the only other wide body in the AA fleet at the time, did not have the range to fly DFW-NRT. AA would start taking delivery of A300-600s in 1988 but those planes too did not have the range to fly DFW-NRT. TWA found no success and really no need for the SP and got rid of them by the mid-1980s. I don't recall if the SP were withdrawn but still owned by TWA or sold to a third party, then acquired by AA, but the frames AA acquired for NRT were the ex-TWA planes.

The 747SP's were moved off DFW-NRT in 1991 to operate JFK-LHR when it launched, in July 1991, as a consequence of the acquisition of TWA's LHR routes. DFW-NRT went MD11. For a brief time in 1992-93, AA ended up flying one SP on JFK-BRU. The SP's were a stop gap for AA on LHR until more 763s and the MD11s arrived, as the 1990 acquisition of EA"s Latin America network and the Miami hub developed required what 762/763 they had at the time to shift to many Latin America routes.

Correct. The MD11 did not live up to expectations range-wide, was expensive to operate, and was a trigger for the 777 order, which came in late 1996 with deliveries beginning in 1999.

TWA took delivery of the 747SP in 1980 (3 or 4, total). They were bought principally because the 747-100 struggled on LHR-LAX, and a few other routes like TLV-JFK and ATH-JFK in winter time. TWA also acquired the 747SP because it anticipated getting NRT rights, which never happened. They ended up on a number of routes, spread across the map, including the short lived JFK-KWI-BOM and were otherwise used as subs for 741-742s on JFK-FCO, JFK-MXP, and plenty of other TATL routes for a few years, before being pulled. I think they never took delivery of the 3rd or 4th. 2 went to AA, the third to an Emirate government as a VIP aicraft. Not sure where the fourth plane went.


Although AA must have used the SPs on other routes besides DFW - NRT. Somewhere I have a photo of one at LHR.


Yes, as stated, AA moved the two 747-SPs off DFW-NRT in June 1991 which became among AA's first international MD11 routes, and put the two SPs on two of the 3 JFK-LHR frequencies that AA launched on July 1 1991. The 747SP remained on JFK-LHR for a time, and eventually were withdrawn from service altogether. AA had taken delivery of more 767-300ERs and MD11's which eventually became the mainstay of JFK-LHR, which peaked at 6 times daily by 1997.

UA, which inherited 747SPs through its acquisition of PA's TPAC network in 1986, and some of those SPs ended up at LHR as well for a time.
 
blacksoviet
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Mon Jan 17, 2022 1:40 am

ContinentalEWR wrote:
cschleic wrote:
ContinentalEWR wrote:

No, AA acquired the 747-SPs from TWA in the mid-1980s to launch DFW-NRT. At the time, AA had no other aircraft capable of operating that route. The MD11s were not yet on property, and the DC10 and 767, the only other wide body in the AA fleet at the time, did not have the range to fly DFW-NRT. AA would start taking delivery of A300-600s in 1988 but those planes too did not have the range to fly DFW-NRT. TWA found no success and really no need for the SP and got rid of them by the mid-1980s. I don't recall if the SP were withdrawn but still owned by TWA or sold to a third party, then acquired by AA, but the frames AA acquired for NRT were the ex-TWA planes.

The 747SP's were moved off DFW-NRT in 1991 to operate JFK-LHR when it launched, in July 1991, as a consequence of the acquisition of TWA's LHR routes. DFW-NRT went MD11. For a brief time in 1992-93, AA ended up flying one SP on JFK-BRU. The SP's were a stop gap for AA on LHR until more 763s and the MD11s arrived, as the 1990 acquisition of EA"s Latin America network and the Miami hub developed required what 762/763 they had at the time to shift to many Latin America routes.

Correct. The MD11 did not live up to expectations range-wide, was expensive to operate, and was a trigger for the 777 order, which came in late 1996 with deliveries beginning in 1999.

TWA took delivery of the 747SP in 1980 (3 or 4, total). They were bought principally because the 747-100 struggled on LHR-LAX, and a few other routes like TLV-JFK and ATH-JFK in winter time. TWA also acquired the 747SP because it anticipated getting NRT rights, which never happened. They ended up on a number of routes, spread across the map, including the short lived JFK-KWI-BOM and were otherwise used as subs for 741-742s on JFK-FCO, JFK-MXP, and plenty of other TATL routes for a few years, before being pulled. I think they never took delivery of the 3rd or 4th. 2 went to AA, the third to an Emirate government as a VIP aicraft. Not sure where the fourth plane went.


Although AA must have used the SPs on other routes besides DFW - NRT. Somewhere I have a photo of one at LHR.


Yes, as stated, AA moved the two 747-SPs off DFW-NRT in June 1991 which became among AA's first international MD11 routes, and put the two SPs on two of the 3 JFK-LHR frequencies that AA launched on July 1 1991. The 747SP remained on JFK-LHR for a time, and eventually were withdrawn from service altogether. AA had taken delivery of more 767-300ERs and MD11's which eventually became the mainstay of JFK-LHR, which peaked at 6 times daily by 1997.

UA, which inherited 747SPs through its acquisition of PA's TPAC network in 1986, and some of those SPs ended up at LHR as well for a time.

Where could you fly a UA 747SP to from LHR?
 
AAIL86
Posts: 513
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:00 am

Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Mon Jan 17, 2022 4:59 am

n9801f wrote:
Ziyulu wrote:
Does anyone know if AA ever considered other 747 versions such as the 200, 300, or 400 series?

IIRC American briefly owned 2 747-400's in the -90's, though it never flew them.

At the time there were frequency limits for US-Japan. AA was competing with UA in a route case for a new route and frequency on ORD-NRT. To make its bid equivalent to UA's, AA bought 2 of Canadian Airlines' (CP) 744 delivery slots - AA had a strong alliance with CP at the time.

Ultimately UA won the route case (AA lost) and I'm pretty sure AA sold the 744's right back to CP even before they came off the assembly line.

Separately, around 1990 AA procured and flew 2 used SP's for DFW-NRT.

Perhaps others here can refine or correct details.




It's interesting to think how American's evolution might have changed if they'd obtained this route authority and completed the sale on those 744s.
The conventual wisdom is probably that they'd have been a stopgap measure until the MD-11s rolled off the line. Of course, given the subsequently horrendous operational reliability of the MD-11, American would have almost certainly been better off with a small fleet of 10-12 744s... one wonders if they might have had more success with 747s that time around.
 
n9801f
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Mon Jan 17, 2022 7:35 am

AAIL86 wrote:
It's interesting to think how American's evolution might have changed if they'd obtained this route authority and completed the sale on those 744s.
The conventual wisdom is probably that they'd have been a stopgap measure until the MD-11s rolled off the line. Of course, given the subsequently horrendous operational reliability of the MD-11, American would have almost certainly been better off with a small fleet of 10-12 744s... one wonders if they might have had more success with 747s that time around.

That's an interesting point.

You probably know the following, though other readers may not. At the time (1990) six route authorities were available and nine US carriers pitched their proposals. AA argued that service was concentrated on UA and NW and the US would increase competition most by awarding it all six authorities and creating a third big US-Japan player.

So had AA won ORD-NRT, it might well have been in conjunction with other awards. In that case it's easy for me to imagine the 744 having high utility for AA, say on ORD-NRT, DFW-NRT, and LAX-NRT (6 aircraft) as a hypothetical minimum case, perhaps including a few other dense routes like DFW-LHR and ORD-LHR to bring the fleet up to the 10-12 scale.

Definitely an interesting alternate evolution!

The route case is discussed in detail in the linked academic article by David Haider of Northwestern, "The US-Japan Gateway Awards Case of 1990"

https://bunker2.zlibcdn.com/dtoken/6b4c ... 15ee6213f5
 
UAL777UK
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Mon Jan 17, 2022 8:51 am

blacksoviet wrote:
ContinentalEWR wrote:
cschleic wrote:

Where could you fly a UA 747SP to from LHR?


To SFO. If memory serves me correct they might have served Seattle with it as well but stand to be corrected there.
 
ContinentalEWR
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Mon Jan 17, 2022 12:22 pm

UAL777UK wrote:
blacksoviet wrote:
ContinentalEWR wrote:


To SFO. If memory serves me correct they might have served Seattle with it as well but stand to be corrected there.


In the very early days of UA's LHR operation, EWR-LHR was served with the 747SP, I think.
 
jfk777
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Mon Jan 17, 2022 12:29 pm

AA found their 747-100 to be too big except for JFK to LAX, the Dc-10 fit their operations better. They did a 747 for Dc-10 swap with Pan AM since PA hated the National Airlines DC-10's since they had L-1011-500's. AA got a few more Dc-10 and rid of the four engine monster.
 
mga707
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Mon Jan 17, 2022 3:15 pm

jfk777 wrote:
AA found their 747-100 to be too big except for JFK to LAX, the Dc-10 fit their operations better. They did a 747 for Dc-10 swap with Pan AM since PA hated the National Airlines DC-10's since they had L-1011-500's. AA got a few more Dc-10 and rid of the four engine monster.


AA got more than 'a few' of the PA DC-10s. They obtained nearly all of PA's ex-NA DC-10 fleet in the 1984 swap, 15 aircraft, if memory serves. Mostly -10s, but three or four -30s as well. I think PA kept one -30 for a few more years for charters. Can't recall if that one wound up at AA or not. In return, PA got AA's six remaining 747-123s.
 
ContinentalEWR
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Mon Jan 17, 2022 3:35 pm

jfk777 wrote:
AA found their 747-100 to be too big except for JFK to LAX, the Dc-10 fit their operations better. They did a 747 for Dc-10 swap with Pan AM since PA hated the National Airlines DC-10's since they had L-1011-500's. AA got a few more Dc-10 and rid of the four engine monster.


That's absolutely current regarding the 747 being too large for American Airlines' then operations and like DL and EA, they got rid of them quickly. Until the mid-1980s, AA was fundamentally a US domestic trunk carrier. Large, yes, but with virtually no overseas long haul routes, except for DFW-LGW plus the Caribbean network. The big push to expand internationally materialized in 1986 with NRT, followed by a further expansion into Europe, and then 1990, with the acquisition of Eastern's Latin America operation. Somewhere in there, AA briefly launched Sydney and Auckland, which lasted a very short time.

AA under Crandall considered the PA TPAC operation, and ultimately passed on it. The acquisition would have required that AA either inherit a big slice of PA's 747s and then place orders for more (the upcoming -400) at a time when AA was already committed to buying many more 767s and MD11s, neither of which would have been suited for TPAC service.
 
blacksoviet
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Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Mon Jan 17, 2022 5:18 pm

ContinentalEWR wrote:
UAL777UK wrote:
blacksoviet wrote:


To SFO. If memory serves me correct they might have served Seattle with it as well but stand to be corrected there.


In the very early days of UA's LHR operation, EWR-LHR was served with the 747SP, I think.

EWR-LHR does not require the range of a 747SP. A 747-100 or -200 should work just fine.
 
MIflyer12
Posts: 11141
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:58 pm

Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Mon Jan 17, 2022 5:20 pm

blacksoviet wrote:
EWR-LHR does not require the range of a 747SP. A 747-100 or -200 should work just fine.


Lots of frames get placed on missions where the range or payload isn't required, especially when a carrier's fleet is fragmented. Even today.
 
n9801f
Posts: 562
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 8:29 am

Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Mon Jan 17, 2022 5:41 pm

ContinentalEWR wrote:
In the very early days of UA's LHR operation, EWR-LHR was served with the 747SP, I think.

Yes, I think so too.
 
ContinentalEWR
Posts: 5344
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 2:50 am

Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Mon Jan 17, 2022 5:53 pm

blacksoviet wrote:
ContinentalEWR wrote:
UAL777UK wrote:

To SFO. If memory serves me correct they might have served Seattle with it as well but stand to be corrected there.


In the very early days of UA's LHR operation, EWR-LHR was served with the 747SP, I think.

EWR-LHR does not require the range of a 747SP. A 747-100 or -200 should work just fine.


No it doesn't, but plenty of aircraft then and now are used on routes that are well under the plane's range. Nothing revolutionary here. The 747SP at EWR on UA was probably operating EWR-NRT and rotated onto LHR. You have to remember that when UA acquired the majority of LHR's operation in 1991, it was shifting a lot of planes around as 747-400s were arriving and being put on TPAC routes, while at the same time UA was expanding rapidly into Europe.

UA also had a sub fleet of high density J class 747-200s operating routes like JFK-NRT in the mid-1990s which at times struggled to complete the route nonstop.

The point is fleets were juggled around the system at a huge moment of growth, notably for the current US3, which were on a growth tear as PA and TW were retreating, shedding assets.

AA flew 747SP's on JFK-LHR for a time as well as it was short on widebodies when it started LHR operations.

Even today, plenty of aircraft with longer range are used on shorter missions. Look at DY before it closed and all the 787 routes that were flown to the East Coast, 77Ws used on relatively short TATL routes (mainly because they're not needed on routes to Asia at the moment), 77Ws operating JFK-MIA on AA, 787s operating ORD-LHR, etc...
 
ord
Posts: 1411
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 1999 10:34 pm

Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Mon Jan 17, 2022 6:57 pm

ContinentalEWR wrote:
AA under Crandall considered the PA TPAC operation, and ultimately passed on it. The acquisition would have required that AA either inherit a big slice of PA's 747s and then place orders for more (the upcoming -400) at a time when AA was already committed to buying many more 767s and MD11s, neither of which would have been suited for TPAC service.


Two incorrect statements here. First, Crandall did not pass on the PA TPAC routes. He never even knew a deal was going to happen, and was upset he wasn't given the opportunity to make a competing bid to United. This was widely mentioned in the press at the time, and noted in Ted Reed's book about American: "'I woke up one morning and read about it,' Crandall said.... 'Why the * would Pan Am sell to United without having an auction?'" Second, when the PA TPAC deal happened (1985) American was still years away from ordering the MD-11 (1989).
 
blacksoviet
Posts: 2008
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:50 am

Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Mon Jan 17, 2022 7:28 pm

ContinentalEWR wrote:
blacksoviet wrote:
ContinentalEWR wrote:

In the very early days of UA's LHR operation, EWR-LHR was served with the 747SP, I think.

EWR-LHR does not require the range of a 747SP. A 747-100 or -200 should work just fine.


No it doesn't, but plenty of aircraft then and now are used on routes that are well under the plane's range. Nothing revolutionary here. The 747SP at EWR on UA was probably operating EWR-NRT and rotated onto LHR. You have to remember that when UA acquired the majority of LHR's operation in 1991, it was shifting a lot of planes around as 747-400s were arriving and being put on TPAC routes, while at the same time UA was expanding rapidly into Europe.

UA also had a sub fleet of high density J class 747-200s operating routes like JFK-NRT in the mid-1990s which at times struggled to complete the route nonstop.

The point is fleets were juggled around the system at a huge moment of growth, notably for the current US3, which were on a growth tear as PA and TW were retreating, shedding assets.

AA flew 747SP's on JFK-LHR for a time as well as it was short on widebodies when it started LHR operations.

It sounds like you are saying that in 1991, UA did not need the 747-400’s capacity on transatlantic routes and so they sent the SPs to LHR.
 
NLINK
Posts: 507
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 3:20 pm

Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Mon Jan 17, 2022 7:46 pm

No surprise with AA doing short term failed experiments.
 
skipness1E
Posts: 5145
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 9:18 am

Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Mon Jan 17, 2022 7:57 pm

Huge DC10 fleet and massive orders for MD80s, existing relationship with Long Beach, no way on for A340 at that time? Although they did have A300s!
 
n9801f
Posts: 562
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 8:29 am

Re: why did AA convert their 747s to freighters

Mon Jan 17, 2022 8:18 pm

ord wrote:
First, Crandall did not pass on the PA TPAC routes. He never even knew a deal was going to happen, and was upset he wasn't given the opportunity to make a competing bid to United. This was widely mentioned in the press at the time, and noted in Ted Reed's book about American: "'I woke up one morning and read about it,' Crandall said.... 'Why the * would Pan Am sell to United without having an auction?'"

Yes, this aligns with things I've read and heard.

Jack Pope, who was CFO of AA when UA purchased PanAm's Pacific routes, then later came to UA, where he served as COO.

While at AA, Pope is rumored to have been infuriated when he learned (too late) that United bought the PanAm Pacific routes, and to have said, "If I'd have known of that deal sooner, I would have stopped that deal."

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