US Airways takes preliminary look at A321neo

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Significant Airbus customer US Airways is taking a preliminary look at the Airbus A321neo, but is not convinced the aircraft meets the mission for long-haul Boeing 757 replacement.

"We're in preliminary talks with Airbus about what the aircraft can and cannot do," US Airways CEO Doug Parker told Air Transport Intelligence on 30 August at the International Aviation Forecast Summit hosted by the Boyd Group. US Airways operates more than 200 Airbus narrow and widebody aircraft.

The problem, Parker explained, is US Airways is not certain the A321neo can fulfil the Phoenix-Hawaii missions currently operated by the carrier with its 757s.

US Airways has previously stated that it has informed Airbus of the necessity for the A321neo to achieve similar long-haul mission capabilities of the 757 that it operates to Hawaii and Europe.

American Airlines, which operates some of its 757s on transatlantic flights, has ordered 130 A321neos as part of a huge order placed with Boeing and Airbus last month. Flightglobal's ACAS database shows American currently operates 123 757s.

US Airways' CEO also seems unconcerned over a revision by Airbus in the development schedule for the A350-800. The Phoenix-based carrier has 18 firm orders for the -800 and four for the -900 variant.

Airbus now plans to push back a service entry for the -800 from 2014 to 2016.

Parker said he is "not worried" about the -800 service entry delay since the carrier's deliveries are planned after the revised delivery date.

US Airways has done its own revisions to A350 delivery times since placing an initial order in 2005. Originally the aircraft had a 2014 delivery that was pushed to 2015 and later deferred to 2017.