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An Update and A Farewell

Richard Lung,
Director of Flight Crew Resources

FlightLine, April 2000
April 2000

This is my last article for Flightline as I am moving on to be Director-Cargo Revenue Management.  My replacement, Chuck Roichek, is well aware of your desire to be kept informed about the constantly changing marketplace.  Here's the latest round of flying updates.

Lifting of O'Hare Slots.
With slot controls being phased out over the next two years, we could see some growth across the narrowbody fleet types with growth narrowbody deliveries deployed to ORD and quite possibly aircraft redeployed at least temporarily from other hubs.

As part of the phase-out, United can add 25-30 roundtrips at ORD as early as this summer.  Due to manpower lead times in the short term, we would use existing manpower from other domiciles to cover any increases in narrowbody flying.  Over time, we expect to grow narrowbody lines at ORD, while trying to maintain stability at other narrowbody domiciles.

More B777 Pacific Service.
Much of the traffic flowing from the U.S. mainland through Tokyo to SEL, PEK and PVG will now be carried nonstop from the U.S. mainland as we add nonstop B400 service from SFO to SEL, PEK, PVG this spring and summer.  Due to reduced traffic on the U.S.-Tokyo routes, the company is considering downgauging one SFO-NRT trip from a B400 to a B777, flown with SFO-based crews, this summer.

The B777 will come from an ORDLHR trip, which will be upgauged to a B400, flown with ORD-based crews. For ORD B400, this makes up for the loss of domestic flying which converted to the SFO service to Asia.  Due to short-term manpower requirements, one of the SFO-LHR B777 flights will be flown temporarily by ORD B777 crews in a ORD-LHR-SFO-LHRORD "W' pattern.  Over time we'll bid up SFO B777, returning the SFO-LHR trip to SFO.

B727 Base Closings.
The company is evaluating closing smaller B727 domiciles including SFO and DCA, and consolidating the flying into the ORO, DEN and JFK bases.  We'll go through a Notice of Proposed Decision Making Process (NPDM) with ALPA's-System Schedule Committee over the next several months.  We’re tentatively targeting a first quarter 2001 close of SFO and second quarter 2001 close of DCA.
DC10 Base Closings.

We're targeting the SFO DC10 base closing as early as October 2000, but no later than January 2001.  ORD DC-10 closing is targeted for August 2001.

LAX  B777.
 There is a good possibility we'll have year-round LAX-South America lying and or LAX-Hawaii flying starting the fourth quarter of 2000 (building up to a 30-line base.  We will staff up LAX once these plans solidify.
South America regulatory, proceedings should be completed by June, after which United will clarify its, business plan for this area.  Because there, still is no guarantee of this additional flying after the seasonal LAX- goes away October 31, we refrained from bidding up to all three current international trips (2 LHR, 1 CDG) since we could risk a surplus situation this winter.

Meanwhile, LAX will fly both LAX-LHR trips, including a more desirable I daytime departures which seasonally operates through October.  ORD B777 flies LAX-CDG in an ORD-CDG-LAX-CDG-ORD "W".  The 'W" for ORD is a 6-day 39-hour trip with 24-hour layovers in CDG for ORD, crews.  Two of these build a 78 hour 18/19-days off line for ORD.

Miami B767.
Miami grows by roughly five lines temporarily through October by picking up ORD-GRU on at least a day-of week basis, offset by the loss of LIM-MIA and possibly some domestic flying.  In April, ORD-GRU was flown by MIA and JFK crews.  ORD-GRU is planned to return to a B777 in November, reducing line levels back to winter 1999 levels.