US Airways expects its mainline fleet to have declined by 14% to 354 aircraft by the end of this year, compared with the 411 aircraft America West Airlines and US Airways operated before their merger in September last year.

US Airways revamps fleet W445
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 US Airways' revamped fleet will have shrunk by 14% at the end of this year

The airline revealed its fleet plan last week in a filing with the US Securities & Exchange Commission. To reach the 354 figure by year’s end, US Airways – which has already reduced the 384-strong mainline fleet recorded at the end of November – says it expects to remove 22 aircraft and add a further five in 2006.

During the first quarter, it removed two Boeing 737-300s and took delivery of two Airbus A319s previously ordered by America West. US Airways also recently announced the acquisition of three 757s formerly operated by grounded French carrier Air Horizons. These will be deployed this year on new services to Europe.

The overall mainline fleet reduction, agreed in connection with the merger and US Airways’ emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, “better matches aircraft size with consumer demand”, says US Airways in its filing.

Separately, US Airways warns that the future status of its domestic codeshare agreement with United Airlines remains unclear: “On 3 March, US Airways filed a motion with the bankruptcy court to assume its agreements with United; however, the company is continuing to negotiate with United concerning revisions to the existing agreements.”

If US Airways is unable to agree with United, it says, the company’s codeshare relationship with United and membership in Star Alliance “could be terminated”.

US Airways, meanwhile, continues to work towards combining its frequent-flyer programme with America West’s, and says it expects to complete the merger under the “Dividend Miles” name by the second quarter.


Source: Flight International