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dubaiamman243
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United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:50 pm

United Airlines has informed its pilots that the company is intending to retire the B747 fleet by 2018 instead of 2020.

"We are contemplating an accelerated retirement plan for the 747s, Howard Attarian, United's senior vice president for flight operations, said in a message to pilots. "If we do decide to head in this direction, we plan to accelerate widebody deliveries to replace this capacity."

The planes aren't as old as you might think - many were delivered to United in the late 1990s - but maintenence costs are expensive, the airline says. That's in part because fewer airlines fly the 747 now, with many preferring cheaper-to-operate twin-engine aircraft.

"This is an aging fleet that many operators are beginning to exit from service and as this happens, support for the aircraft, especially in our spokes, gets more difficult," United said in separate message. A 'Spoke,' is an airport not considered a hub, like Shanghai or Beijing.

UA had 22 B747 by the end of 2015, 2 are expected to be retired this year. For now, United flies 747s from San Francisco and Chicago. But this week, United also told pilots it will remove the 747 from Chicago in February 2017, leaving only San Francisco with 747 service.

Its sad to see more and more 747s retired and replaced.

source: http://www.briansumers.com/home/2016...ire-all-of-its-boeing-747s-by-2018
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777222LR
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:23 pm

I probably took my last flight on the United 747-400 last week, SFO-HKG and back. With Wifi and quick movie streaming to your personal device, living without PTV's is a non-issue, and it's still such a wonderful aircraft to fly. Sad to see them go, but it's probably the way of the future. Still would like to see a 748i order, but we know that's not likely to happen with the A350-1000 and the 777-300ER's.
 
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scbriml
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:36 pm

That's sad news. I guess a lot of people expected a stay of execution with the price of fuel currently so low.

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I think I much preferred the blue colours to the current, drab 'Continental' one.
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:50 pm

I am still surprised they don't get A380s for the super busy routes from San Francisco to Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul and Shanghai. Traffic volumes on those routes, barring some kind of global catastrophe, will only go up and up, yet they are replacing a 400 seater with a 300 seater. Makes no sense. At some point they're going to need some kind of people mover, and if the 747-8i really isn't up to it, surely it'll be the A380.

Quoting scbriml (Reply 2):
I think I much preferred the blue colours to the current, drab 'Continental' one.

God, yes. The current livery is just awful, so dull. And from it flows more drabness -- aircraft interiors are sad and boring too. I can't wait for it to end and they bring back Saul Bass's wonderful tulip, or they rebrand completely. It will really make a difference to the airline's fortunes. Look at JAL when they brought back the tsuru.
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:17 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 3):

They are replacing the 747 on one route with 777s, 787s, and eventually A350s on multiple routes. UA has been launching more nonstop services from the US to different parts of Asia/Australia lately, so what was one plane load of passengers with a connection is now two plane loads of passengers flying nonstop.
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KarelXWB
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:19 pm

I believe UA is currently the second largest 747 operator, after BA.
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A330
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:29 pm

They are idiots.

B744 is cheaper considering combined leasing costs and fuel costs then any other type at the moment, AND has a smoother ride, is faster and loved by its passengers.

A cabin refurbishment is way cheaper than buying plastic fantastic.
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C010T3
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:41 pm

Quoting KarelXWB (Reply 5):
I believe UA is currently the second largest 747 operator, after BA.

United is not even in the top 5.
 
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:44 pm

Quoting dubaiamman243 (Thread starter):
United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

This means the association will end less than 40 years after the delivery of N4703U on June 30, 1970.


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Mortyman
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:44 pm

How sad to see the 747's leave. wish they would order the Boeing 747-8I
 
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KarelXWB
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:48 pm

Quoting C010T3 (Reply 7):
United is not even in the top 5.

Do you happen to have a list?
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:57 pm

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KarelXWB
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:00 pm

Quoting readytotaxi (Reply 11):
Found this.

Right, I didn't include the cargo planes.
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Georgetown
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:06 pm

Quoting SpaceshipDC10 (Reply 8):

This means the association will end less than 40 years after the delivery of N4703U on June 30, 1970.


Think you meant 50 years? June 30, 1970 was 45 years ago.
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scbriml
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:08 pm

Quoting A330 (Reply 6):
They are idiots.

Yeah, what do they know about running a profitable airline?
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jetblastdubai
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:12 pm

BA = 40
KAL = 39
LH = 32
CI = 30
SV = 29
CX = 27
KLM = 23
UA = 22

JL = 0 (down from 114)
 
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scbriml
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:18 pm

Quoting jetblastdubai (Reply 15):
JL = 0 (down from 114)

But JL wasn't 114 concurrently, was it?
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N415XJ
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:36 pm

Quoting A330 (Reply 6):
at the moment

Yep, "at the moment". Airlines don't make future decisions based on what's best "at the moment". And where did you get the idea that the 747 is cheaper than any other aircraft based on fuel costs? Do you have numbers to back that up?

Quoting A330 (Reply 6):
loved by its passengers.

To 99.99999% of passengers, every aircraft larger than an Embraer 145 is a "747".
 
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jetblastdubai
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:37 pm

Quoting scbriml (Reply 16):
But JL wasn't 114 concurrently, was it?

According to the site where I got the information, it simply lists "historical" data. I imagine that would include any aircraft that passed through the fleet at some point. The totals below include everything from the 741 through the 747-8i.

Current fleet plus historical numbers:

SV = 121
JL = 114
BA = 101
UA = 88
CX = 83
KAL = 82
LH = 80
 
slider
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:39 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 3):
yet they are replacing a 400 seater with a 300 seater.

Negative. UA 747s have 375 seats; their A350 configuration hasn't been confirmed yet, but it will be rather close. Airbus generically states the -1000 will seat 350 in three class layout. So it's hardly the 100 seat gap that you describe.

Quoting A330 (Reply 6):
They are idiots.

B744 is cheaper considering combined leasing costs and fuel costs then any other type at the moment, AND has a smoother ride, is faster and loved by its passengers.

But you're not factoring in maintenance, cost of parts, etc. Frankly, the UA 747s are getting a little long in the tooth, there are a lot of mx related delays and cancellations. UA is working on improving reliability; shedding unreliable fleet types (or not making the massive investment needed to keep them operating), is a savvy business move. But I'm glad you think they're idiots. The world must be so clear from your perch running a major airline.
 
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KarelXWB
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:50 pm

Quoting slider (Reply 19):
Negative. UA 747s have 375 seats; their A350 configuration hasn't been confirmed yet, but it will be rather close. Airbus generically states the -1000 will seat 350 in three class layout. So it's hardly the 100 seat gap that you describe.

One can also fit 400 seats in the A350-1000, depending on cabin layout.

Those 747s have four class cabin, the same configuration would equal some ~ 290 seats in the A350-1000. So if UA would put ~ 350 seats on the A350-1000, it would be a completely different configuration.
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slider
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:57 pm

Quoting KarelXWB (Reply 20):
One can also fit 400 seats in the A350-1000, depending on cabin layout.

Those 747s have four class cabin, the same configuration would equal some ~ 290 seats in the A350-1000. So if UA would put ~ 350 seats on the A350-1000, it would be a completely different configuration.

Right, right. My response was simply a higher level rebuttal that there won't be a 100 seat gap from the 747 to the A350, as the other poster stated. I wasn't getting into the nitty gritty.

But if the A350 follows the 777-300s, it'll be close enough to backfill 747 capacity fully. Their 777-300s will have 360 seats in three class layout as well (60 BF, 110 E-Plus, 196 Economy). That makes a pretty compelling case for accelerated 747 retirement.

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STT757
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:57 pm

Another poster , LAXINTL, has made the point in other threads that all 744s have to have a fuel tank modification complete by 2018. It's apparently an expensive modification and thus 2018 is the drop dead date for many current 744 operators.
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:58 pm

Quoting A330 (Reply 6):
They are idiots.

B744 is cheaper considering combined leasing costs and fuel costs then any other type at the moment, AND has a smoother ride, is faster and loved by its passengers.

A cabin refurbishment is way cheaper than buying plastic fantastic.

747s are cool, IMHO, but you're overlooking reliability and maintenance costs. Does anyone have the dispatch reliability rate for UA's 744s?

Quoting slider (Reply 19):
But you're not factoring in maintenance, cost of parts, etc... ... there are a lot of mx related delays and cancellations. UA is working on improving reliability; shedding unreliable fleet types (or not making the massive investment needed to keep them operating), is a savvy business move.

  

UA's 744s were to be replaced by A350s starting in 2018. In other words, the end was near anyway.
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KarelXWB
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:59 pm

Quoting STT757 (Reply 22):
fuel tank modification

Never heard this before, what modification would that be?
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RayChuang
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:00 pm

Given that UA will take deliveries of 10 77W's and starting in 2018 the A350XWB-1000, no wonder why the 744's are being retired. I think UA may buy more A35K's, primarily for expansion of flights to Asia from EWR, ORD, LAX and SFO.
 
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:08 pm

Yeah, I liked these planes despite their age. It was great to fly to across the Pacific as they cruise a little faster so it saves you about 20-30 minutes. I always liked the 747 but I admit the A380's more pressurized cabin is nice. I don't like the 550 people on the plane though. Just too many for me to comfortable.
 
slider
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:08 pm

Quoting KarelXWB (Reply 24):
Never heard this before, what modification would that be?

I'm not aware of that either, but on that note, it's also possible that the 747s are coming up on C check cycle as well. So instead of taking on major mx check costs or any AD compliance issues, you just park them.
 
SpaceshipDC10
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:20 pm

Quoting Georgetown (Reply 13):
Think you meant 50 years?

That's right.

Quoting jetblastdubai (Reply 15):
JL = 0 (down from 114)

Once one of the largest, if not the largest, operator of the type in its own name.

Quoting jetblastdubai (Reply 18):
SV = 121

They have had many, indeed, but many were not theirs, and even registered and operated by another airline for SV.


http://www.planespotters.net/product...lines&manufacturer=Boeing&type=747
 
klwright69
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:36 pm

In Saudi Arabia I am constantly seeing SV 747's. I am not surprised they are a large operator.

I am sad to see these birds leave, they are classics.

But no one is talking about the elephant in the room here. How many UA planes will have Global First once the 747's are gone?

Global First will be greatly diminished. Isn't it a given that new deliveries will not have GF?
 
A330
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:56 pm

Nearly all SV B744's are operated by Air Atlanta Icelandic.
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LAXintl
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:16 pm

Cant say I am surprised whatsoever. Nursing the 744 fleet to 2020 or beyond was not going to be an easy(or cheap) task.

Quoting A330 (Reply 6):

They are idiots.
B744 is cheaper considering combined leasing costs and fuel costs then any other type at the moment, AND has a smoother ride, is faster and loved by its passengers.
A cabin refurbishment is way cheaper than buying plastic fantastic.

Supporting already shrinking fleet is fast becoming a reliability and maintenance cost headache. As the fleet shrinks the per ship cost continues to rise and reliable become more tenuous as schedule flexibility is reduced.

Add in the fact that the 744 is fast leaving the global pax fleet across the industry, it gets harder to support the aircraft away from home base as other operators no longer stock spares or are able support.

Even Delta, with seeming enthusiast in operating older frames for long periods is advancing the retirement of their 744 fleet to 2017.

Quoting STT757 (Reply 22):
Another poster , LAXINTL, has made the point in other threads that all 744s have to have a fuel tank modification complete by 2018. It's apparently an expensive modification and thus 2018 is the drop dead date for many current 744 operators.
Quoting KarelXWB (Reply 24):
Never heard this before, what modification would that be?

The entire worlds pax 744 fleet drops dead in December 2018.

There is a required fuel tank system safety upgrade required left over from TWA800 days whereby nitrogen generation systems must be installed to inert the fuel tanks.

While some operators have long ago complied, many(most) have not yet and obviously need to weigh the cost of compliance with the mandate versus their expected ROI by keeping the frame.

[Edited 2016-02-20 09:27:43]
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DocLightning
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:18 pm

Quoting A330 (Reply 6):

They are idiots.

Why don't you write them and tell them that?

Quoting scbriml (Reply 2):

I think I much preferred the blue colours to the current, drab 'Continental' one.

Agree, although the thing about the 744 is that she looks pretty no matter what she wears.

Well, except the DreamSchlepper. They did figure out a way to make a 744 ugly.  https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2c/Boeing_747-400LCF_Dreamlifter.jpg
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:24 pm

Quoting KarelXWB (Reply 24):
Never heard this before, what modification would that be?

Probably this one to prevent fuel tank explosions. The deadline is Dec 26, 2017 with possibility of a one year extension.
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:34 pm

Rumor is that UA added/changed delivery on two additional 789's plus some more 77W's to cover these units. Any more knowledge out there on exactly what was done cover a lot of capacity. I realize A35J and B78J will be on campus in 2018 also, but this is a lot of capacity to replace.
 
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LAXintl
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:42 pm

Quoting fun2fly (Reply 34):
Rumor is that UA added/changed delivery on two additional 789's plus some more 77W's to cover these units. Any more knowledge out there on exactly what was done cover a lot of capacity. I realize A35J and B78J will be on campus in 2018 also, but this is a lot of capacity to replace.

Remember UA 744 fleet was being drawn down already prior 2018. We posted in another thread the by tail number the expected retirement schedule.
As is there were 8 tails that would be withdrawn in the next 2-years, so the operational fleet and their flying footprint was going to be vastly smaller regardless.
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readytotaxi
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 6:41 pm

Quoting klwright69 (Reply 29):
Global First will be greatly diminished. Isn't it a given that new deliveries will not have GF?

Maybe on this site, not sure, I recall UA was looking to drop Global First, or be it quietly, by 2018. Could be wrong.   
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fun2fly
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 7:08 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 35):
As is there were 8 tails that would be withdrawn in the next 2-years, so the operational fleet and their flying footprint was going to be vastly smaller regardless.

Still, they'd need to fill in for 14 frames of capacity. If you remove out 2 spares + 1 charter, that's 11 replacements. If they did order 2 more 789's, then it's 9. So, perhaps 4-6 more 77W's?
 
FlyHossD
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:08 pm

Quoting fun2fly (Reply 37):
Still, they'd need to fill in for 14 frames of capacity. If you remove out 2 spares + 1 charter, that's 11 replacements. If they did order 2 more 789's, then it's 9. So, perhaps 4-6 more 77W's?

Well, that's the rumor. But the rumor I've heard is more additional 77Ws than 4-6. Time will tell.
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zkeoj
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:24 pm

Quoting KarelXWB (Reply 12):
Right, I didn't include the cargo planes.

And look at the date: Their "current status" is September 2011!
 
UA444
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:42 pm

I hope it dawns on them to preserve a 747-422 for prosperity, either by donating one or building a museum. Hopefully it's either in the Stars and Bars or Rainbow livery.
 
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:58 pm

Quoting UA444 (Reply 40):
I hope it dawns on them to preserve a 747-422 for prosperity, either by donating one or building a museum. Hopefully it's either in the Stars and Bars or Rainbow livery.

Nice idea - have you submitted it to UAL?
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
tortugamon
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:26 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 31):
The entire worlds pax 744 fleet drops dead in December 2018.

Do you know if this is for passenger 747s or 744s as well?

Quoting fun2fly (Reply 37):
So, perhaps 4-6 more 77W's?

The rumor I have heard is 10 additional 77Ws.

tortugamon

[Edited 2016-02-20 14:11:50]
 
fun2fly
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:04 pm

Quoting tortugamon (Reply 42):
The rumor I have heard it 10 additional 77Ws.

Wow, that's a lot of new metal, plus the 787/350's.
 
deltal1011man
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:19 pm

interesting indeed
UAs reliability on its 747 fleet is well known for not being good and IIRC it is the most outsourced fleet in the combined airline. Interesting......

Quoting A330 (Reply 6):
They are idiots.

No they aren't. The world is dumping 744s as fast they can.

I bet you think they are also "idiots" for dumping F even though it is also unprofitable.

Quoting A330 (Reply 6):

B744 is cheaper considering combined leasing costs and fuel costs then any other type at the moment, AND has a smoother ride, is faster and loved by its passengers.

I hope you have data to back that up, and can also some how prove the 747 total cost is cheaper than the 787 and/or 77W (or A350s)

Quoting KarelXWB (Reply 20):

Those 747s have four class cabin, the same configuration would equal some ~ 290 seats in the A350-1000. So if UA would put ~ 350 seats on the A350-1000, it would be a completely different configuration.

FWIW UA is moving away from 4 class and going to 3 class.
So the 35J will be pretty close in capacity but be less premium more than likely

Quoting STT757 (Reply 22):
Another poster , LAXINTL, has made the point in other threads that all 744s have to have a fuel tank modification complete by 2018. It's apparently an expensive modification and thus 2018 is the drop dead date for many current 744 operators.

yep. Fuel tank inerting. AFAIK this is also one of the reason DL is dumping their fleet also.

Quoting KarelXWB (Reply 24):

Never heard this before, what modification would that be?

read above.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 31):

Supporting already shrinking fleet is fast becoming a reliability and maintenance cost headache.

it is a headache. It has long been one.
remember it wasn't that long ago that they tried consolidating the fleet at SFO to get reliability up.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 31):

Even Delta, with seeming enthusiast in operating older frames for long periods is advancing the retirement of their 744 fleet to 2017.

and would park them tomorrow if they could.
 
theSFOspotter
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:23 pm

This is very sad to hear. This either means expedited deliveries of the A350's or there's a order of 20 more or so 77W's.
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jayunited
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:24 pm

Quoting fun2fly (Reply 34):
Rumor is that UA added/changed delivery on two additional 789's plus some more 77W's to cover these units. Any more knowledge out there on exactly what was done cover a lot of capacity. I realize A35J and B78J will be on campus in 2018 also, but this is a lot of capacity to replace.

Not really UA's 744 fleet is not heavily utilized so although there are 22 still in the fleet how many of the 22 frames are actually being used daily and how many frames are sitting on the ground as extras? I haven't yet looked at UA's up coming summer schedule to see how many routes will be flown on 744's, but I think UA will have no problem covering the capacity.

What I'm wonder is what does this announcement mean for the 77W fleet and the rumored plans to based that fleet at EWR? With UA seeming to go back to the original schedule and retire the 744's by some point in 2018 will the 77W's be based at EWR, will UA order more 77W's to replace current 744 flights out of ORD and SFO?

One thing is for sure it will be interesting to see what UA does starting later this year but specifically in 2017. Exciting times ahead I will have to plan my final 744 flight because I'm sure when UA does final flights where the 744 will do its farewell domestic flight no standbys will be able to get on probably because all seats will be filled.
 
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777Jet
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:38 am

I will miss the UA 747-400 - badly.

They have safely transported me from Australia to the United States, across the vast Pacific Ocean, on dozens of occasions since the 1990s.

The night time departure in LAX in the heavy UA 747-400 heading for SYD is very hard to beat.

Quoting scbriml (Reply 2):
I think I much preferred the blue colours to the current, drab 'Continental' one.

I preferred the Saul Bass Tulip livery and the Battleship Grey livery.
DC10-10/30,MD82/88/90, 717,727,732/3/4/5/7/8/9ER,742/4,752/3,763/ER,772/E/L/3/W,788/9, 306,320,321,332/3,346,359,388
 
ltbewr
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:55 am

While fuel is cheap right now, for sure in a few years it will go up, but even then big twins with will make up their higher capital costs with much better fuel economy and major long term mx cost savings.
I suspect over the next 5 years, UA's and other airline's older 747, will be reaching a critical point of major and expensive mx checks, sharply declining unit resale values, tax based depreciation, with values continuing to drop to where scrapping is financially the best decision. I am quite sure this decision has been calculated to the penny by well paid accountants, maintenance and tax experts.
Yes, it is sad that the 'queen of the skies' may be reaching the end of new production and use but consider that its initial development was about 50 years old and big twin tech has ended the 747's run.
 
S75752
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RE: United To Retire B747 Fleet By 2018

Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:53 am

The 747's just got finished updating like last year wasn't it? And now they're already on their way out. The poor, neglected queens, I wish that they could have had more than 3 years in an acceptable state in the back.

Is there any interest in cheap 747-400's in the cargo industry?

Quoting scbriml (Reply 2):

I think I much preferred the blue colours to the current, drab 'Continental' one.

United had the nicer livery and rolls-off-the-tongue name, Continental had the product and reputation. I guess it came time to compromise. I do miss that Tulip logo a lot though.

[Edited 2016-02-20 18:14:43]

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