United’s fleet cuts

Prior to United-Continental’s chief hinting 737-500s and 767-200ERs might be cut due to spiking fuel costs, we did our own analysis of the carrier’s fleet. Below is a terrific chart our data team put together grouping the carrier’s fleet into age bands and some commentary.

United-Continental could remove a range of aircraft to trim capacity

Lori Ranson, Washington DC (09Mar11, 20:20 GMT, 280 words)

United-Continental’s older 737s, 757s and 767s could be under scrutiny after the carrier revealed its analysis of removing less fuel efficient aircraft from its fleet as fuel costs continue to rise.

At the time it released full-year capacity revisions for flat growth in 2011, the carrier also said it was examining its fleet, particularly less fuel efficient aircraft.

An analysis by ATI and Flightglobal’s data team of United-Continental’s 701 mainline aircraft by age shows an overall average age of 12.2 years. The oldest sub-fleet is the 96 Pratt & Whitney PW2037-powered Boeing 757-200s with an average age of 18.8 years. Its 35 PW4000 series-powered 767-300s have an overall average age of 15.7 years, while its 24 747-400s featuring PW4056 engines have an average age of 15.8 years. United-Continental’s 36 CFM-powered 737-500s show an average age of 15.1 years.

An examination of aircraft with an average age of 15-20 years shows a total of 160 aircraft, led by 59 P&W powered 757-200s. Other fleet types falling into that age range include 22 CFM-powered 737-500s, five PW4056-powered 747-400s, 15 Rolls-Royce RB211 535E-4B powered 757-200s, 21 767-300s with the P&W engines, seven 777-200s with PW4077 powerplants and 31 Airbus A320 powered by IAE V2500s.

United-Continental also has number of 50-seat regional jets, which are increasingly falling out of favour, operated by their partners including 81 Bombardier CRJ200s and 273 Embraer ERJ-145s. Previous fleet projections show the removal of two CRJ200s and six ERJ-145s during the current quarter.

In addition to possibly shrinking its fleet, United-Continental also states is plans to accomplish capacity reductions through reduced flight frequencies, existing less profitable routes and indefinitely postponing service launch in certain markets.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news

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