Judge Mitchell has approved the return of 57 parked and 10 active mainline aircraft.
The current mainline fleet count is 301 aircraft, although the company has asked to return 22 more jets and for relief of up to 150 total turbofan and turboprop aircraft in the future.
Today in a speech Dave Siegel reiterated a comment he told me a few weeks ago when he said, There are several hundred aircraft in the desert that meet our specifications, so if need be we'll hand them all back and go to the desert and pick up new ones.
Dave specifically mentioned A-320s and B767-300ERs available in the desert.
US Airways May Seek to Return More Airplanes, CEO Siegel Says
Washington, Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) -- US Airways Group Inc. may seek bankruptcy court permission to return more airplanes to creditors unless the seventh-largest U.S. carrier can renew leases at reasonable rates, Chief Executive Officer David Siegel said.
We said we''re not going to pay any above-market rates for leases anymore, Siegel said in a speech. The world has changed and paying $300,000 a month for a 15-year-old 737 just isn''t going to happen.
US Airways filed for bankruptcy protection last month and has gained approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to reject leases on 67 planes, mainly older Boeing Co. aircraft. The Arlington, Virginia-based carrier has sought permission to reject leases on another 22 planes to bring its fleet to 279 aircraft.
Separately, the carrier has been negotiating with lessors of other planes as part of an effort to cut $1.2 billion in annual costs through worker, vender and creditor concessions. There are several hundred aircraft in the desert that meet our specifications, so if need be we''ll hand them all back and go to the desert and pick up new ones,[?b] Siegel said in a speech to the International Aviation Club, an aviation industry group, in Washington.
The carrier has an obligation to workers through recently negotiated contracts not to reduce the size of the fleet below 245 aircraft. Yesterday the company said in a bulletin to workers that while we have the ability to reduce the fleet to 245, we are working hard to make 279 work.
For the record, UA does not have any A320's in the desert. We deferred numerous deliveries out into 2004, but have not parked any. However, we do have plenty of 737's and 727's and 744's in the desert .
And you can bet that a leasing company would gladly leased desert-parked aircraft to US, regardless of their bankruptcy status. The deal would most likely be written so as to protect the lessor from US changing their mind and returning the aircraft before emergence from Ch.11. The aircraft leasing market is so dry these days that I'm sure they'd gladly do a deal with US. Some money coming in for leases is better than none at all.
Why wouldn't anyone lease aircraft to U during BK? Post-filing debts are priority debts, and the aircraft are sitting there not making anybody any money, and in fact losing money because the owners have to pay insurance on them (which can't be cheap!)
Furthermore, we have a jump on the other airlines in terms of choice of parked aircraft and can probably pick up some sweet deals before the other majors start doing the same thing.
Airbus has a lot of returned A320's that they would be glad to lease. They stated in USA Today several months ago that we are committed to doing everything possible to help US Airways return to profitability. Notice there aren't any busses targeted to be parked?