The Chicago Tribune is reporting some serious cutbacks at UA:
United plans to retire the workhorses of its domestic fleet: 94 decades-old Boeing 737 jets, single-aisle planes that seat up to 123 passengers and shuttle over medium-range distances, say people close to the company.
That’s a lot of planes, nearly 25% of UA’s fleet! It’ll be weird flying UA without any 737’s in the fleet. As much as I hate them, nothing is more traditional UA than their retro seat covers and bulkheads. Also, I’d be curious to hear how many 747’s they plan on cutting, and especially which routes they’re going to axe or downsize as a result. I can’t imagine they’re cutting back on Australia, so I guess somewhere in Asia? I know they’re getting rid of LAX-HKG, but there must be more.
Beyond the fact that UA will have 100 less planes, think of how this will impact UA as a whole. 25% less planes means less employees (lots of pilots and FA’s are going to be out of work), less convenient flights, less RCC’s possibly, etc, and that’s only the beginning.
I’ve also heard rumors that Ted will be going away, which I can actually sort of see happening. The 737’s served many business routes, and I’m sure with capacity reductions, the first routes to be leaned out will be the low yield Ted routes. This raises the question as to whether UA will actually reconfigure the Ted birds to mainline, or if there’ll be some ghetto-esque reconfiguration.
Simply put, I have a lot of questions and very few answers, but I’d be watching UA for the next few days, it’s going to get interesting, and probably not in a good way.