Browsing Tag: US Airways

US Airways Airbus A330 and American Airlines Boeing 777. Image from American.

US Airways Airbus A330 and American Airlines Boeing 777. Image from American.

Ever since American Airlines declared bankruptcy in November 2011, Doug Parker from US Airways has been on the prowl to snap up the airline and merge.  Talk of a possible merger has remained around the aviation world since then, and in some cases it has been discussed to the ends of the earth. It really shouldn’t have been much of a surprise when news that the two airlines would merge started to leak last night.

The two airlines will combine and create one of the world’s largest airlines.  The combined entity will lose the US Airways name and will become a member of oneworld.  The “New American Airlines” will strengthen oneworld with a combined network of 336 locations in 56 countries offering 6700 daily flights.

“Today, we are proud to launch the new American Airlines – a premier global carrier well equipped to compete and win against the best in the world,” said Tom Horton, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of American Airlines. “Together, we will be even better positioned to deliver for all of our stakeholders, including our customers, people, investors, partners, and the many communities we serve.”

The New Merging Couple, US Airways and the New American Airlines Liver - Image: American Airlines

The New Merging Couple, US Airways and the New American Airlines Liver – Image: American Airlines

What does this mean for the traveling public?  The two airlines will continue to operate separately for quite sometime and it might be a while before most passengers see any real changes. But here is the basic run down:

  • The US Airways brand will be transitioned to the new unveiled American Airlines brand and look.
  • The head quarters of the new American will be located in Dallas Fort-Worth.
  • All hubs will remain in the combined operation: Dallas, Miami, JFK, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Chicago, Charlotte, Washington D.C. (National) & Los Angeles.
  • US Airways will leave Star Alliance and the new combined airline will continue with oneworld
  • American CEO Tom Horton will continue to be to the chairman — for now.
  • US Airways Dividend Miles will no longer exist and will be merged into AAdvantage (but as to when this still has not been announced).
  • They will continue to grow the combined airline taking delivery of over 600 new aircraft (including Boeing 777-300ERs & 737-800, Airbus A350s, A320 & A321 NEOs) and retiring the older aircraft (ie MD-80’s).
The 77W looks ready to fly. Check out the Wi-Fi antenna up top. Image from American.

How will this livery look on an Airbus A330?  Image from American.

The new airline does not expect many jobs will be lost due to the two airlines not having much overlap. “We’re not anticipating any major layoffs,” said US Airways CEO Doug Parker according to the Airline Biz Blog. “The airline will be based in Dallas-Fort Worth and some people won’t want to move from Phoenix [US Airways is based there]. Most of this well take care of itself.”

When the Airline Biz Blog asked the airline CEOs about their regional counterparts (American Eagle and US Airways Express), they explained that they want to concentrate on the mainline before looking at the regional carriers. “We’ll keep them as part of the larger airline,” Parker explained. “It’s one of those things we’ll have to work on over time, but certainly there’s nothing to announce.” Horton was asked about the possibility of the regional carriers being spun off and responded, “We’ll keep them as part of the larger airline. It’s one of those things we’ll have to work on over time, but certainly there’s nothing to announce.”

With an on-board premium product that is already similar (US Airways Envoy class uses the same seats that the New American airlines does on their 777-300ER) and with a modern fleet, we can hope that this will be a positive match. It is likely that AA/US do not plan to experience some of the same issues that plagued the United/Continental merger and as long as everything goes smoothly, the new American will be official once it clears bankruptcy court in the 3rd Quarter of 2013.

MORE AMERICAN AIRLINES / US AIRWAYS MERGER STUFF:

Story written by Malcolm Muir and David Parker Brown

There are going to be a lot more Delta widgets seen at LGA soon.

There are going to be a lot more Delta widgets seen at LGA soon.

Recently, Delta Air Lines announced their game plan to expand at LaGuardia Airport (LGA) after their slot swap with US Airways. Delta, being the world’s second largest airline, has plenty that they can bring to the New York area and grow LGA into a major hub for business travelers.

If you scroll through the new Delta LGA flights, you will see a lot of smaller aircraft: the Embraer ERJ-145, E-170, E-175, Bombardier CRJ-700, CRJ-900 and the CRJ-200. With an airport that is already so crowded, it was a little surprising seeing so many small aircraft.

Just because a new route starts as a smaller aircraft, doesn’t mean that Delta can’t upgrade to a larger aircraft later. Still, it seems like some of the routes might be able to handle larger aircraft, why did Delta go this route?

“It’s purely a function of having the right aircraft for the right market,” Morgan Durrant, Delta Spokesperson explained to AirlineReporter.com. “LaGuardia is arguably the most restricted airfield in the world but that doesn’t preclude the market demand for both capacity and frequency. Utilizing regional aircraft in some markets allows us to achieve both in a way that’s good for customers and good for business.”

At least Delta is operating jets; US Airways Express (aka Piedmont) flew quite a few turbo-props in LGA. For the airline nerd (that many of us probably are), turbo-props are fun to fly in, but I know that most travelers do not share our passion for aviation and most prefer the comfort of a jet. And remember, that not all regional jets are created equally. Many of Delta’s jets that have more the 50  seats contain amenities found on larger aircraft.

“Delta Connection aircraft larger than 50 seats will have a two-cabin configuration and Gogo Wi-Fi,” Durrant stated.

Delta has more connections and are arguably using better aircraft, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they are able to become quite successful out of LGA. I also wouldn’t be surprised to start seeing larger planes operating in Delta colors in the future out of LaGuardia as well.

Two view points you have to read about this topic are: Brett Snyder looking at the winners and losers of this deal and Dan Webb looking at the new destinations.

Photo by: Jerome Vorus

HI-RES PIC (click for larger): The 7000th Airbus aircraft, an A321 for US Airways, takes off. Check the German flag on the tail. Photo from Airbus.

HI-RES PIC (click for larger): The 7000th Airbus aircraft, an A321 for US Airways, takes off. Check the German flag on the tail. Photo from Airbus.

Airbus was originally founded in 1970 as a consortium of aerospace manufactures to better compete with Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed. Their first aircraft was the A300, which first flight on October 28, 1972 and since then, the manufacture has created many successful aircraft that have flown millions of passengers around the world. A big milestone was reached by the company on December 12th; Airbus delivered its 7000th plane. The special aircraft was an A321 that was delivered to US Airways.

“It’s particularly fitting that our 7,000th aircraft is an A321 going to US Airways. The airline not only operates the largest fleet of Airbus aircraft in the world; with over 220 A320 Family aircraft flying in US Airways colours today,” said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO. “This milestone is a tribute to the hard work and commitment of Airbus teams around the world. We have improved efficiencies company-wide and this has enabled us to deliver record numbers of latest generation aircraft at continually increasing rates, with an environmental footprint ever decreasing.”

It was only two short years ago that Airbus delivered their 6000th aircraft, which was an A380 for Emirates in January 2010.

As of November, 2011, Airbus has received a total of 11,438 orders, with 816 for the A300/A310 family, 8251 for the A320 family, 2128 for the A330/A340/A350 family and 243 for the A380.

A big congrats to Airbus on their 7000th delivery, let’s see how long it takes to make the 8000 mark.

This a guest blog from Vinay Bhaskara looking how airline and train transportation has changed over time on the east coast. This is his story:

One of my more “avgeeky” hobbies is looking at the Form 41 data; specifically the T100. The T100D Segment, which I’m going to be looking at today, gives us data about every domestic flight operated by all carriers, both US owned, and international.

Now the T100 database at the DOT goes back to 1990, so I decided to take a look at how a specific route looked like in 1990, and then in 2009 (the second to last full year of data available). After a few moments of debate, I decided on New York La Guardia to Washington Reagan – one component of the venerable Northeast Shuttle.

The La Guardia to Reagan route is still one of the most traversed air routes in North America, comprising 423,483 passengers last year. There are only two airlines on the route; US Airways, and Delta. In 1990, it was the legendary Pan Am who flew the route in lieu of Delta. That being said, here are some of the stats I found most interesting:

* Capacity on the route fell by 49% and passengers dropped 50%. So in 19 years, the airlines have halved their capacity on the route, and half as many passengers are flying the route.

* Despite the precipitous drop in capacity and demand, the average number of daily flights only dropped from 31 to 24.

* This corresponds with the average aircraft size falling from 159 seats in 1990, to 103 seats in 2009. Of course this probably has a lot to do with the fact that Delta is running E175s every hour, but still.

* Delta had a load factor of 40% last year. I hope they have lots of high yielding passengers, because they sure as heck aren’t filling many seats.

The following chart shows how the capacity and passengers carried stacked up for each airline:

The next two charts show the corresponding market shares of the different airlines. Isn’t it surprising that Delta (who replaced Pan Am on the route in 1991) lost so much market share?

Why are the passenger numbers dropping so much? In a word: time. The time it takes to fly between New York and DC has grown so much, that flying has become far less attractive, especially when compared to other options like the Acela Express.

Still skeptical?

Let’s take our average businessman, and say that he lives 20 minutes away from both Penn Station and La Guardia (I’m not sure there is such a point, but work with me here). So we start with that. Then, the Acela Express takes an average of 3 hours to reach its destination, and bam, you’re in downtown DC at Union Station.

The flight on the other hand is much more complex. After arriving at the airport, you usually have to budget time for security. I’d estimate it to be 15 minutes at the Marine Air Terminal (Delta Shuttle) during peak times, and 40 minutes at US Airways’ terminal during the same time period. So let’s assume that it takes around 30 minutes for security. Then, you want to be at the gate around 25 minutes before your flight; which brings you to a total of 75 minutes before you even board the flights. Now, the average ramp to ramp time, which is how long it takes for the plane to go from gate to gate was 73 minutes last year. Once you arrive at the airport, we can figure around 10 minutes for disembarking and going to the taxi stand/limo pickup. From Reagan National, it usually takes around 25 minutes to get to downtown DC by car. So let’s tally up the total travel time for each method.

Acela Express
Drive to Penn Station- 20 minutes
Train Travel Time- 180 minutes
Total Travel Time- 200 minutes

US Airways and Delta Shuttles
Drive to La Guardia- 20 minutes
Security at Airport- 30 minutes
Time at Gate Prior to Departure- 25 minutes
Plane Travel Time- 73 minutes
Time to Get out of Reagan Airport- 10 minutes
Drive to Downtown DC- 25 minutes
Total Travel Time- 183 minutes

Plus, the service on the Acela Express is much better. Acela Express- Spacious seats, in-seat power, WiFi, a newspaper, and gourmet meals. US Airways/Delta Shuttle- Cramped cabin, snack boxes, free drinks, and a newspaper. You decide….. Which one would/do you choose?

Vinay Bhaskara is an aviation analyst and history buff based in the United States (New Jersey). In addition to his analyst’s position at Aspire Aviation, he also writes for the Bangalore Aviation blog, and does a podcast on Asian aviation with Innovation Analysis Group (IAG). He can be reached at @TheABVinay on Twitter, as well as at vinay@bangaloreaviation.com, on Facebook , and via Linkedin.

 

US Airways Airbus A320. Photo by Andrew Vane

US Airways Airbus A320. Photo by Andrew Vane

By guest columnist Andrew Vane

Although not as flashy or grandiose as some more colorful liveries, US Airways is still transitioning to brightening their fleet from the blue top/grey bottom to a bright white top and blue bottom (with blue tail).  The flag icon takes center stage on the tail with a bit of wispy lines drifting back along the fuselage.  Gone are the red Air Wisconsin and teal America West colors in favor of a red white and blue themed livery consistent with the airline name.

In addition to the standard livery, US Airways has introduced some retro-themed liveries in former merger/acquisitions PSA Airlines, Piedmont Airlines and Allegheny Air as well as NFL teams from its hubs (Charlotte, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia).

But don’t let the name fool you, US Airways also has flights direct from its Philadelphia and Charlotte hubs for points South to Central America and the Caribbean, and East to Europe with one direct to Tel Aviv (from Philly).

What are your thoughts? Too bland and in need of rebranding or the new normal?

US Airways retro liveries:
* PSA
* Piedmont
* Allegheny

US Airways NFL liveries:
* Philadelphia Eagles
* Pittsburgh Steelers
* Carolina Panthers
* Phoenix Cardinals