United Airlines is implementing an efficiency programme that could effectively add the same capacity as 10 narrowbodies. The plan, which comes as the airline exits Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, will reduce average turnaround time, “de-peak” a key hub, and eliminate underutilised gates and facilities.

“By using our assets more efficiently, we can increase our departures without adding more aircraft to the fleet,” says United chief operating officer Peter McDonald.

United plans to reduce its 61min average turnaround time by 8min. The move will “free up at least 10 aircraft in 2006”, says United. It will also allow United gates to handle more aircraft. The airline will also expand a de-peaking system already employed at its Chicago O’Hare hub, and “to a lesser extent” Los Angeles, to San Francisco and Washington Dulles. De-peaking at the carrier’s Denver hub is not necessary, it says.

United spent three years in bankruptcy protection and says that during this time it reduced its average annual costs by about $7 billion.


Source: Flight International