US Airways hints at examining using widebodies between hubs

Washington DC
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As US Airways shifts widebodies around its network to adjust for five Airbus A330s starting operations this year, the carrier could eventually place Boeing 767s those new aircraft are replacing on domestic hub-to-hub routes.

The carrier is adding five A330-200s to its fleet in 2009, and two have already been delivered. US Airways placed the first two widebodies on flights from its Philadelphia hub to Tel Aviv, and plans to use the third on flights from Philadelphia to London Heathrow. Recently the carrier said it had acquired a more favourable landing slot at Heathrow.

Responding to a query in the latest employee update about using 767s domestically as some flights from Europe are drawn down US Airways management states: "We know that our Charlotte-Phoenix flights are quite full. Right now we are planning on placing those aircraft [the 767s] into service to fly new routes like Charlotte-Rio de Janeiro and Charlotte-Hawaii."

As the A330s continue to join the fleet the carrier says it will "evaluate our network and needs and if conditions warrant it, potentially place widebodies on some hub-to-hub routes".

During a 23 July earnings call US Airways CFO Derek Kerr said the carrier has financing for all but one of its 25 aircraft deliveries this year, which includes 20 A320/321 aircraft. Currently the carrier is evaluating options for the last A330 delivery, he notes.