Re: A340-500X/600X and B777-200X/300X [long]

Date:         30 Apr 97 03:19:08 
From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
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>>Replacing 767-300(ER)s, not 747s, though if you dig back it used to be
>>one 747-238B, compared to *two* 777-200IGWs starting tomorrow.

>There's a surprise. Why/how/when did United get hold of
>an ex-Qantas 747?  Via People's Express?  Virgin?  How many?

Bits of this have come up occasionally in sci.aeronautics.airliners
(archives at but to
answer all your questions ...

Why?  Because when United acquired Pan Am's London Heathrow routes,
they only got two planes in the deal -- a pair of 747-212Bs, which
United stored at OAK for several months, without ever operating them
in revenue service, before trading them to Potomac Capital which in
turn leased them back to Pan Am.  United needed to add capacity to
handle these new routes quickly and used, ex-Qantas 747-238Bs turned
out to be the answer.

How?  By leasing them from Potomac Capital (five planes) and Electra
Aviation (two planes, N159UA and N160UA), with the two 747-212Bs from
Pan Am used as a partial trade.  At least some of these planes have
subsequently been purchased by United or otherwise re-financed.

When?  The aircraft were delivered between January and August on 1991.
(I think the deal was announced at the start of the year though it may
have been at the end of December 1990.)

Via PE/VS?  No, they came directly from Qantas.

Some popular misconceptions about these planes are either (a) they
have Rolls-Royce engines, since they came from Qantas, or (b) United
got all of Qantas' JT9D-equipped 747-238Bs.  Neither is true.  Most
of Qantas' 747s have Rolls-Royce RB.211 engines, but the first 17
(out of 22) 747-238Bs were equipped with JT9D engines (as was a
747-123 that Qantas leased for a time).  Qantas kept the five -238Bs
with RB.211 engines but unloaded all of the JT9D-equipped examples
as newer 747s were delivered.  United's seven are from that group.

Karl Swartz	|Home
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