US Airways’ Jet Short and Long Term Fleet Plan?

Formatman

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Aug 20, 2002
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On 5/28/2003 2:04:28 PM Tim Nelson wrote:

my understanding is that the company wants to deplete the mainline jets down to 255 from 279.

Tim Nelson

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Tim...I was at the meeting in the CLT hangar which was given by "just call me Dave" many months ago. I have the notes right here in front of me. He said Chapter 11 was "not a failure". It was a way to "protect pensions" That was the first lie. Many lies later he said that 280 A/C (at that time) was the number he was going to try to make work. He said he knew that 245 A/C would definitely work, but he was going to try to keep it at 280. I went back to the airport and told everybody to mark my words...he will go to 245 A/C. I don''t think there was ever a doubt in his mind about it.
 

Twicebaked

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May 22, 2003
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On 5/28/2003 6:31:54 PM exagony wrote:


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Lets see, the express carriers flying the CRJ200 (50 pax) get by with only one FA so what''s the big deal. Are you afraid of -oh my gosh- having to work for the first time? 2 FA''s for a 98 pax airplane is more than enough.

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Not if there is 8 in a first class cabin and 90 in the back. You need at least 3. You must not be a flight attendant.
 
OP
U

USA320Pilot

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May 18, 2003
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DFW:

According to Aviation Daily, US Airways, launch customer for Embraer 170, is also slated as the first customer of Bombardier’s CRJ700 variant — the -705. The 75-seat -705 is a variant of the -700 that is dimensionally "the same as the CRJ900," a Bombardier spokesman said. The -900 is Bombardier’s largest regional jet, seating 86 passengers in a single class configuration. The spokesman stressed the –705 has its own type certification and manuals. The 82,500-pound maximum takeoff weight of the 705 meets the weight limits in the US Airways pilot scope clause of just under 86,000 pounds.


ALPA specifically carved out CRJ-700 language because of US demands, under the threat of liquidation, but the contract does not permit the CRJ-705, which in a single class configuration can seat 86 passengers.

This is a significant dispute because these very large RJs, unless flown on the mainline in addition to the 279, are a contract violation that ALPA will not permit. However, the company is free to acquire the CRJ-700.

Best regards,

Chip
 

BoredToDeath

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Oct 19, 2002
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Here''s an interesting article from overseas from some magazine called "Flug Revue". Notice how it seems to point out how "the differences between the 900 and 700 are very small". Also no mentions of 705''s or anything remotely simalar, unless I missed it.

Enjoy

BOMBARDIER CRJ900 ENTERS SERVICE
By Patrick Hoeveler

It would appear that Bombardier has pulled off a perfect hat trick, as they say in footballing circles. The Canadian aircraft manufacturer has succeeded no less than three times in being the first to get a regional jet product of a given seat capacity to the market. Building on the basis of the Challenger business jet, first of all it brought out the successful 50-seaters, the CRJ100 and the CRJ200, followed by the stretched 70-seater CRJ700. Then on 24 July 2000, the company officially launched a programme for a variant that would accommodate up to 90 passengers.



The designers extended the fuselage by an extra 2.29m fore and 1.57m aft of the structurally strengthened, but aerodynamically identical wing. The landing gear, wheels and brakes were likewise strengthened. The CF34-8C5 engine from GE Aircraft Engines delivers about five percent more thrust than the CF34-8C1 variant which powers the CRJ700. The longer fuselage has enabled the engineers to extend the forward cargo compartment to a volume of 4.4m3 and to install an additional hatch. However, another pair of emergency exits over the wings was required to please the certification authorities. The jet also has an extra service door on the back right-hand side to shorten turn-around times. Bombardier is currently offering three different weight options. As well as the basic CRJ900, the longer range versions CRJ900ER and CRJ900LR are also available. All are produced in Mirabel near Toronto alongside the smaller CRJ700.

The CRJ900, which accommodates 86 passengers at a seat pitch of 78.7cm in a single class configuration, is a case of a “minimum change programmeâ€, as Dalio Petohleb, product analyst for the CRJ700/900 series puts it. It was because only relatively few changes were necessary that the maiden flight was possible less than seven months after the programme launch, on 21 February 2001. The aircraft used for this purpose was actually the CRJ700 prototype, stretched by two extra fuselage plugs. The first production variant followed on 20 October 2001. Certification by the Canadian authorities was achieved after 895 test hours on 13 September 2002. In 2000, Bombardier had estimated that the programme would require a total investment of around Can $200 million.

On 3 February this year the Mesa Air Group took delivery of the first aircraft, tail code N902FJ, although it was not until nearly three months later, on 27 April, that the company began regular flying operations with it under the brand name of American West Express. According to Bombardier, this time span is quite normal. Teething problems such as occurred with the avionics, amongst other things, following the introduction of the CRJ700 into service are not expected. “After all, we now have two years'' experience with the CRJ700,†says Petohleb. Due to the high degree of commonality (about 94 percent of the parts are identical), he is not expecting any serious problems. To simplify production, the CRJ900 wing is even to be mounted on the CRJ700 in Mirabel in future.

Also, when it comes to the handling properties of the new aircraft, Werner Laatz, project pilot for new aircraft types at Lufthansa CityLine, could hardly find any differences. He had test flown the type in connection with the German airline''s procurement programme. “The CRJ900 offers the same good flying characteristics as the CRJ700. The angle of attack is just a fraction higher on the approach, otherwise flying performance feels the same.†The somewhat greater engine power compensates for the higher mass, but makes itself felt in climb performance as well, according to Laatz. Bombardier is happy to point out how simple it is to convert from the CRJ700 to the 86-seater. “Essentially, it is a slef-taught lesson. All the pilot has to do is to study the manual. That takes about two hours,†Petohleb explains.

Mesa, the first airline to operate all three members of the Canadian RJ family, now can check on this advantage and the associated cost savings. Thanks to a third seat rail in the forward area for three business class seats abreast, the CRJ900ER can be flown in a two-class configuration for six plus 74 passengers. The second aircraft, N903J, is expected to be delivered shortly.

Originally, the launch customer was to have been Brit Air, which placed an order for four aircraft with a list price of US $29 million each back in 2000. But subsequently the French decided against the CRJ900 after all, and letters of agreement for the purchase of twelve aircraft by Tyrolean Airways and eight aircraft by Air Nostrum that were announced during the Farnborough Air Show of 2000 failed to translate into concrete orders. As a result Mesa Air Group turned out to be the launch customer of the new flagship.

Meanwhile the Americans increased their order from 20 planes to 25. The extra five aircraft were converted form a CRJ700 order. The leasing company GECAS has in the meantime converted its firm order for ten CRJ900''s to other variants, so that Bombardier currently has only 25 orders for its 86-seater. This reflects the fact that the 90 to 100-seat market, at the lower end of which the CRJ900 is courting customers, is hotly contested. Despite good growth forecasts in this market segment, airlines are reluctant to place orders at present due to the state of the economy.

Bombardier''s competitors are also suffering from the slowdown. Thus, to date Embraer''s only success for its 175, which competes directly with the Canadian product, is an order for ten aircraft from Jet Airways of India. The details of the purchase are currently under negotiation, and it looks as if the delivery date may slip. Orders are also thin on the ground for the Brazilians'' larger planes. Since Swiss slimmed down its order, the order backlog for the Embraer 190 is now standing at only 15. Customers are not exactly queuing up to place orders for the larger products from Airbus (A318) and Boeing (717/737-600) either, although interest in expanding the 717 into a family with new versions appears to be existing.

The pending procurement decisions of US Airways and Lufthansa could prove decisive in shaping the future. For the first time, the German carrier is considering making a joint purchase with other members of the Star Alliance for a total of up to 200 aircraft. Europe is now the main market for the CRJ900, according to Barry MacKinnon, Vice President Marketing and Airline Analysis at Bombardier. In the US, it is difficult to operate 90-seat aircraft because of the scope clauses that the pilot unions insist on, which limit the operation of larger regional jets by regional airlines. “We are also seeing a trend towards low-cost carriers, for which the CRJ900 is attractive because of its low seat mile costs.†Hence discussions are also under way in Germany, amongst others with an unspecified low-cost airline.

The significance of being the first on the market is still considerable, according to MacKinnon, and after all Bombardier claims a lead of two years over the competing Embraer 175, which also has 86 seats and a maximum cabin width of 2.74m. Yet, Bombardier paid for the time advantage with the somewhat narrower cabin taken over from the Challenger. In this respect, the cancelled Fairchild Dornier 728/928 series, which was to have had a cabin width of 3.25m, would definitely have set new standards.

Nevertheless, MacKinnon is confident that the CRJ900 will achieve a satisfactory market share, as the jet was faster (maximum cruise speed Mach 0.83 instead of Mach 0.80), lighter (operating weight empty 21,546kg compared with 21,810kg) and hence cheaper to operate than the Embraer 175. Moreover, it had the advantages of compatibility with the rest of the CRJ family.

Bombardier has no plans for a larger aircraft outside of the CRJ line. “100-seaters are a different market, in which Airbus and Boeing are well positioned. Our customer base is regional airlines,†MacKinnon confirms. Nowadays these companies tend to fare better than many major airlines because of their better cost structures. And that is a trend that the Canadians have every intention of profiting from.
 

Pacemaker

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Sep 3, 2002
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Hi Chip; two questionable assumptions you seem to be making:

1. They are serious about running a mainline.

2. They are men of their word.
 

algflyr

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Aug 21, 2002
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On 5/28/2003 11:27:42 PM Chip Munn wrote:

The 82,500-pound maximum takeoff weight of the 705 meets the weight limits in the US Airways pilot scope clause of just under 86,000 pounds.


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The MTOW of the 705 is listed as 79,500. The 705ER is 82,500. Which one is the order for? The ER? I have not seen that info. I agree the weight issue may be "legal", but the seating capacity seems to be the issue. Maybe if the remove 5 seats, it will work.
 

exagony

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Nov 2, 2002
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Not if there is 8 in a first class cabin and 90 in the back.  You need at least 3.  You must not be a flight attendant.

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Considering most U flights are short distance and U''s flight attendents have a hard time serving one drink to pax if flight is less than an hour, I don''t see the problem.
 

USAirBoyA330

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Aug 23, 2002
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exagony:

Excuse me? I don''t know what flights your on but if the flight is over 30 minutes then some form of service is performed and ALWAYS in 1st class. When I was hired we did Pittsburgh-Philly flights with a hot breakfast! We hardly had time to collect trays and if the flight ran a little short we sometimes had to ask the passengers to put the trays under the seats to collect after landing. It''s not the flight attendants fault management cut all the staffing out. We are understaffed and I am not about to jump out of the seat after takeoff and haul a 300 pound cart out into the galley while we are still on the climb out just so I can make sure the service is speedy. Its dangerous. I will get as far as I can in the time allotted safely and that''s all we can do. We are onboard for your SAFETY not to be your personal cocktail staff. That''s a side duty we perform.
 

dfw79

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Aug 20, 2002
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On 5/28/2003 11:27:42 PM Chip Munn wrote:

DFW:

According to Aviation Daily, US Airways, launch customer for Embraer 170, is also slated as the first customer of Bombardier’s CRJ700 variant — the -705. The 75-seat -705 is a variant of the -700 that is dimensionally "the same as the CRJ900," a Bombardier spokesman said. The -900 is Bombardier’s largest regional jet, seating 86 passengers in a single class configuration. The spokesman stressed the –705 has its own type certification and manuals. The 82,500-pound maximum takeoff weight of the 705 meets the weight limits in the US Airways pilot scope clause of just under 86,000 pounds.


ALPA specifically carved out CRJ-700 language because of US demands, under the threat of liquidation, but the contract does not permit the CRJ-705, which in a single class configuration can seat 86 passengers.

This is a significant dispute because these very large RJs, unless flown on the mainline in addition to the 279, are a contract violation that ALPA will not permit. However, the company is free to acquire the CRJ-700.

Best regards,

Chip

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Chip...

You keep ignoring the fact that you are playing name games. If you want to call it the CRJ-705, then call the Series 701 the CRJ-701 not the CRJ-700. If the union''s biggest worry is that the Series 705 will be flown as a one-class aircraft, then create language that would require the Series 705 to be flown by mainline/MDA should the seating capacity increase. The biggest peeve right now...call it what it is - the CRJ-700 Series 705..don''t make up a name for it and use that as an excuse for it not being permitted.

US Airways is headed back to its roots...where it should have stayed flying smaller aircraft. J4J is going to be a saving grace for the furloughed mainline people since you''ll likely see 0 growth to the mainline fleet.

I''m also glad we have a new term that has been born...the "very large RJ"...you said RJ - wow...and not the ALPA "SJ" term. Either way...the trademark office has to be busy, thanks to you Chip.

I have no problem with pilots wanting to project their own and the work that should be theirs...but not 1) at the expense of the airline and other employees, and 2) without exercising common sense when making public statements. Simple play on words...making up new names for aircraft...etc...can all be left behind. Simply say look..."The CRJ-700 Series 705 isn''t covered under the contract to be flown outside mainline, however you can fly the CRJ-700 Series 701 all you want."