AA & the Airbus A340

From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
Date:         30 Mar 96 16:01:05 
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>What are the chances that AA is going to go for the Airbus since they
>were on the original "gang" that helped define (along with Delta, btw)
>the 777?

AA also issued the requirements specification that spawned both the
DC-10 and the L-1011, and to a lesser degree the original A300, which
probably came closest to meeting AA's spec.  Obviously the only one
of the three which they bought was the DC-10.  (They launched the
A300-600R, but that came much later and its a very different plane
from the original A300 and from AA's pre-DC-10 specification.)

I don't know, but it seems to me like AA's participation in the 777
definition process isn't likely to have a dramatic impact on their
actually buying the 777.

>I've been waiting with baited breath for the AA and/or DL announcement
>of their respective 777 orders, and inthe case of AA, for it to be the
>launch order for the 777-100.  From what I hear (more and more) DL is
>very unhappy with the MD-11, and American has never been terribly
>thrilled with it.

I hadn't heard that DL was unhappy with the MD-11.  AA almost seemed
to buy them because they got a deal -- someone else gave up some very
early delivery positions and so AA got into the program late yet got
some of the first deliveries.

Why do you think AA might be a launch customer for the 777-100?  They
don't have any routes which need it -- their longest route is probably
DFW-NRT and the B-market 777-200 has the range to fly that.  Unless AA
suddenly scores some major coups in the Pacific market, they really
won't need the 777-100.

Another issue with the 777-100 is the matter of who wants to be the
pioneer operating ETOPS across the North Pacific.  It can be done with
180-minute ETOPS, same as US mainland to Hawaii, but pilots who fly
those routes have told me that the more northerly routes are a lot
nastier, between arctic winds and storms and poor alternate airport
choices in the Aleutians.  Except for this fact, one of the more
likely 777-100 targets would be UA.  UA has always been very conser-
vative, however, and I can't seem them leading the way on something
like North Pacific ETOPS.  Bob Crandall and AA seem more willing to
push the envelope a bit in many regards (which is not to imply that
AA compromises safety in any way) so AA might be the pioneer, though
more likely with the 777-200(ER).

AA has gotten somewhat cozy with Airbus, though, and Airbus would love
to see the A340 beat the 777 at so prestigious a customer as AA.  I'd
not be willing to go out on a limb to pick the winner of this contest!
It won't happen until AA resolves the pilot issues in any case, and
while AA may not be happy with the MD-11, it'll do the job for now so
they can AA can out-wait their pilots.

DL is similarly in a cost-trimming mode, though they've also said they
are looking seriously at replacing the L-1011.  That could mean a 777
order, but unlike AA and UA, DL seems to like the 767 as a domestic
aircraft and now operates a substantial fleet of 767-300s which are in
a 2-class, domestic only configuration.  The 767 is certainly cheaper
and DL might choose to replace the L-1011 with smaller aircraft and
more frequent flights.  AA and UA have replaced a lot of DC-10 flights
with 757s on more frequent schedules.

For trans-Atlantic flights, DL just announced a 767 order to replace
L-1011s, so their intent there is pretty clear.

That leaves the Pacific routes, and again the ETOPS issue arises.  If
DL overcomes that stumbling block, the 777 could be a viable MD-11
replacement.  On the other hand, with LAX-HKG gone, the 767-300(ER)
also has the range to meet DL's needs.  I suspect it doesn't have the
capacity to be profitable on those routes, but I've never been quite
able to understand some of DL's equipment choices.

Karl Swartz	|Home	kls@chicago.com
		|Work	kls@slac.stanford.edu
		|WWW	http://www.chicago.com/~kls/
Moderator of sci.aeronautics.airliners -- Unix/network work pays the bills