Plans are in place for the deployment of five Airbus A330s scheduled for delivery to US Airways starting in May as the carrier works with Airbus to firm up aircraft financing.
Carrier SVP Planning and Alliances Andrew Nocella today at a US Airways media event told ATI that two of the A330-200s will be dedicated to flights from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv scheduled to begin in July.
US Airways plans to deploy the three remaining A330-200s on existing routes, including the replacement of a Boeing 767 with a new A330 on flights from its Philadelphia hub to Munich.
Nocella believes financing will come through for the A330s as the seats and Panasonic inflight entertainment have been installed in the first aircraft. "We need the -200s to fly to Tel Aviv", he says.
Bookings for Tel Aviv are not unsurprisingly lower than projected given the current economic climate, says Nocella.
The economy has driven US Airways in 2009 to postpone a goal of transitioning more of its international markets from seasonal to annual. Nocella explains the carrier is close to deciding on dropping one market currently offered year-round to seasonal.
Anemic demand is particularly acute in the UK, forcing US Airways to scale back planned frequencies on the new Philadelphia-Birmingham, UK routing from seven to five. Nocella says as US Airways looked into advanced bookings in the spring and summer for the market the decision was made to trim the service.
Of the three new markets being introduced from Philadelphia in May and July, Nocella says bookings for Oslo, Norway are the strongest, and Nocella says bookings for flights from Charlotte to Paris starting 21 April are "particularly strong".
US Airways' flights to London are not performing where the carrier needs them to perform with fights from Philadelphia to London Gatwick "deteriorating more in general" says Nocella.