US Airways is using deliveries of new Airbus A321s and A330s to flex its schedules and provide more capacity in specific markets based on seasonal shifts in demand.
The Star Alliance carrier will be able to upgauge flights to more sun destinations this winter with the additional A330s, says Jason Reisinger, director of route planning at US Airways.
US Airways plans to upgauge some flights to St Maarten from its Charlotte and Philadelphia hubs for the first time this winter, he says. Cities such as Cancun and Punta Cana have seen the larger aircraft in the past.
The airline has already added three A330-200s to its fleet this year and plans to take another two for a total of 12 by the end of the year, according to its most recent fleet plan. It also has nine A330-300s and 10 Boeing 767-200ERs.
Additional A321s are allowing US Airways to place more capacity on trunk routes. Reisinger says these aircraft can fly between hubs and cities such as New York and ones in Florida, providing more capacity to passengers connecting from the carrier’s many spokes throughout the eastern USA.
The A321s are replacing older Boeing 737-400s, which are being retired.
US Airways has added 13 A321s year-to-date and plans to take another three for a total of 91 by the end of December. It plans to remove 18 737-400s, leaving just 14 in its fleet by the end of the year.
Overall, the carrier’s combined mainline and regional fleets will be down by one airframe at the end of the year. This nearly flat count makes new service difficult to add without taking capacity away from another market.
US Airways will use one of its new A330s to shift its Charlotte-São Paulo Guarulhos service to a night-night schedule sometime in 2014, says Reisinger. This requires two dedicated aircraft but will not result in an increase in capacity as an aircraft sits on the ground in Brazil during the day.