US Airways says it plans to place a narrowbody order shortly to replace its ageing fleet of Boeing 737-300s and -400s.

The carrier late last year launched an internal review to determine its replacement needs, and began weighing whether it should place orders for current-technology aircraft with Airbus or Boeing, or forge short-term leases for current models while waiting to see if new-technology designs emerge.

"We've made a lot of progress [with the review]," US Airways chairman and chief executive Doug Parker said last week. Speaking before US Airways' proposed $10 billion takeover of Delta Air Lines was rejected, Parker said that the planned order was "on hold" pending the outcome of that deal as it would have resulted in "a much bigger aircraft order". He added that the airline was planning to place an order "pretty quickly".

According to Flight's ACAS database, US Airways has 56 737-300s and 40 737-400s on lease from several lessors. Three 737s and one Boeing 757 will be returned to lessors during the first quarter, Parker says, adding that US Airways intends to operate a mainline fleet of 364 aircraft by the end of 2007.

The carrier has previously said it intends to initially replace 60 of the narrowbodies within two years.

Source: Flight International