United finds short-term 777-200 replacements

Aviation's Week in Charts

United 777 capacity replacement

Our week involves working with clients to build deep insights and forecasts for the coming market. With terabytes of new data ingested each week, we are constantly exploring new techniques to find the new trends, and to convey them through visualized data.  This newsletter is just a portion of what we discovered throughout the week. 

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United 777 capacity replacementCranky Network Weekly looks at the strategic network changes made by the U.S. and Canadian carriers.  If you are interested in more, contact us at [email protected] to receive this week’s report for free.

United Has a Pratt & Whitney Problem

– United is one of the only global carriers to have ordered Pratt & Whitney-powered 777s.

– This Feb, United had an uncontained engine failure leaving Denver that led to the grounding of the Pratt-powered fleet.

– The Continental pre-merger fleet was GE-powered, so this only impacted part of the fleet, but it impacted an important part.

– United’s sub fleet of domestic configured 777s has 28 flat beds upfront and 336 seats in coach. Those aircraft are all powered by PW engines while all GE-powered aircraft are in the international configuration with 50 flat beds, 24 premium economy seats, and 202 seats in coach.

A Hawaiian Shift

– The high-density aircraft were largely dedicated to the mainland – Hawai ʻ i market. Thanks to the high density on the aircraft and high demand in the market, this was a perfect fit for the airplane.

– United has now signaled the long-term impact of this 777 problem by moving all domestic 777s out of the mainland – Hawai ʻ i market into Mar.

– To accomplish this, United has had to get creative. Houston and primary Denver routes move to the international 777-200s while Chicago goes to 787-8 aircraft.

– To Honolulu from LA and San Francisco the airline will now use the much larger 777-300ER. Despite being a bigger aircraft, the international configuration on that airplane means it actually has fewer seats than the domestic 777-200. Presumably, this is happening due to the expected long-term impact on Asia flying which frees up 777-300ER time.

– 767-300ER and 757-200 aircraft pick up secondary frequencies in other markets.

Is This the End?

– Between now and Mar, United still has domestic-configured 777-200s scheduled between Honolulu and Guam along with LA and SF to Newark and Washington/Dulles.

– We do not expect these to operate, and we believe them to simply be placeholders until schedules are more final.

– United has said it wants to bring these airplanes back into service, but they are some of the oldest 777s flying, and it seems like the airline is starting to prepare for them to not return.

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