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Alaska dismisses suggestion of all-Airbus fleet

Alaska dismisses suggestion of all-Airbus fleet

Old May 24, 17, 11:56 am
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Alaska dismisses suggestion of all-Airbus fleet

Alaska Air Group is likely chose the Boeing 737s over Airbus A320 family narrowbodies should it transition back to a single-type fleet, says chief financial officer Brandon Pedersen.

...

Though having two fleet types gives Alaska greater negotiating leverage with airframers, the airline has not determined if that leverage outweighs the "benefit of the simplicity of having a single fleet type", Pedersen says.

"We are doing that analysis right now," he adds.


https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...-fleet-437538/

As they perform their analysis, what does FT think?
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Old May 24, 17, 1:47 pm
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I think they will phase out the A320's in favor of the 737, however, they may very well keep the new A321NEO's as they are more capable than a 737-900ER and probably the 737-9 Max.
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Old May 24, 17, 1:52 pm
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Originally Posted by Gig103 View Post
As they perform their analysis, what does FT think?
I'm not an experienced airline executive with a staff that can help me with sophisticated analysis of the impact of these sorts of decisions on multibillion dollar companies, but I play one on FT so that I can speculate mindlessly!

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Old May 24, 17, 3:45 pm
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I think it's pretty safe to say that AS will not become an all-Airbus airline. Who would seriously suggest that that's on the table, realistically? Between the much-larger current Boeing fleet and the Boeing-Seattle and Boeing-Alaska Airlines ties, that makes no sense.

Who knows whether they'll return to being an all-Boeing airline in the next 5-10 years.

Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
I'm not an experienced airline executive with a staff that can help me with sophisticated analysis of the impact of these sorts of decisions on multibillion dollar companies, but I play one on FT so that I can speculate mindlessly!

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Old May 24, 17, 4:07 pm
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Originally Posted by ashill View Post
I think it's pretty safe to say that AS will not become an all-Airbus airline. Who would seriously suggest that that's on the table, realistically? Between the much-larger current Boeing fleet and the Boeing-Seattle and Boeing-Alaska Airlines ties, that makes no sense.

Who knows whether they'll return to being an all-Boeing airline in the next 5-10 years.



Plus throw in the fact that VX leases all but a small handful of their planes.

I figured all along that AS would fly those until their leases ran out, which will give plenty of time to get replacements from Boeing.

And the handful that are owned, I'm sure they can easily sell on the secondary market if they don't feel like operating a small A321 subfleet.
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Old May 24, 17, 4:51 pm
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If the MAX performs as or better than expected, the future is an all-Boeing fleet.
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Old May 24, 17, 5:28 pm
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Meh. I won't consider Alaska an all-Boeing airline (from a marketing angle) until and unless every aircraft flying under the Alaska brand is a Boeing aircraft. And I hope that never happens.

Whether is is better (more cost effective) to operate B737 and A320 class aircraft i don't know, and i doubt anyone here truly knows.

I agree that it is highly unlikely that AS would sell off all B737s and replace them with A320s. Who aactually made the suggestion that AS would do that?!
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Old May 24, 17, 5:35 pm
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I can see AS keeping the A321 NEO's as that aircraft would be a great fit on certain long AS routes (Hawaii, transcon, ANC in summer) that could justify extra capacity.

But yeah, AS is hardly an all-Boeing airline despite their claims (Q400, E175 both owned by AAG).
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Old May 24, 17, 6:36 pm
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
I'm not an experienced airline executive with a staff that can help me with sophisticated analysis of the impact of these sorts of decisions on multibillion dollar companies, but I play one on FT so that I can speculate mindlessly!

Sometimes there will be a nugget of new information or well-grounded reasoning.
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Old May 24, 17, 6:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Chugach View Post
I can see AS keeping the A321 NEO's as that aircraft would be a great fit on certain long AS routes (Hawaii, transcon, ANC in summer) that could justify extra capacity.
I doubt it if it is the only handful of Airbus remaining. Way too expensive to have dedicated pilot base(s), crew training, parts, and so on for relatively few aircraft.
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Old May 24, 17, 7:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Chugach View Post
I can see AS keeping the A321 NEO's as that aircraft would be a great fit on certain long AS routes (Hawaii, transcon, ANC in summer) that could justify extra capacity.
Agree. I think they will phase out the 320's but those 321 NEO's have some great legs.
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Old May 24, 17, 8:07 pm
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In general, the airlines that had a single vendor (e.g., DL, CO) and learn to see their negotiating leverage first hand when they merge and have two fleet types, tend to maintain that split fleet.



Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
I doubt it if it is the only handful of Airbus remaining. Way too expensive to have dedicated pilot base(s), crew training, parts, and so on for relatively few aircraft.
AS is actually more suited to maintaining a dual fleet than most network carriers, given how many of AS's flights are point to point markets. When they're flying flights like SMF-OGG or OAK-KOA, how many parts are they really storing at these out-of-the-way places? They either source them locally or fly them in.

Sure, at a hub, there's more complexity, but that can be outweighed by lower costs for new aircraft since Boeing now thinks AS might really buy Airbus planes for future orders.

It's like most items in business. Standardization is good, to a point, as it saves on training, maintenance, etc. But after a point, it hinders your ability to negotiate, as the vendor who "locked you in" thinks and acts like they don't have to win your business anymore.
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Old May 24, 17, 8:33 pm
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Originally Posted by channa View Post
In general, the airlines that had a single vendor (e.g., DL, CO) and learn to see their negotiating leverage first hand when they merge and have two fleet types, tend to maintain that split fleet.

AS is actually more suited to maintaining a dual fleet than most network carriers, given how many of AS's flights are point to point markets. When they're flying flights like SMF-OGG or OAK-KOA, how many parts are they really storing at these out-of-the-way places? They either source them locally or fly them in.

Sure, at a hub, there's more complexity, but that can be outweighed by lower costs for new aircraft since Boeing now thinks AS might really buy Airbus planes for future orders.

It's like most items in business. Standardization is good, to a point, as it saves on training, maintenance, etc. But after a point, it hinders your ability to negotiate, as the vendor who "locked you in" thinks and acts like they don't have to win your business anymore.
I don't disagree on the generalities. I disagree in AS keeping a fleet of only 10 A321s as its only Airbus fleet. This will not be cost effective however you measure it.
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Old May 24, 17, 8:57 pm
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Originally Posted by channa View Post
In general, the airlines that had a single vendor (e.g., DL, CO) and learn to see their negotiating leverage first hand when they merge and have two fleet types, tend to maintain that split fleet.

[...]

Sure, at a hub, there's more complexity, but that can be outweighed by lower costs for new aircraft since Boeing now thinks AS might really buy Airbus planes for future orders.

It's like most items in business. Standardization is good, to a point, as it saves on training, maintenance, etc. But after a point, it hinders your ability to negotiate, as the vendor who "locked you in" thinks and acts like they don't have to win your business anymore.
An alternative to "leverage" is a most favored nation clause, which I suspect AS (and WN) have in some form.
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Old May 24, 17, 11:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
I don't disagree on the generalities. I disagree in AS keeping a fleet of only 10 A321s as its only Airbus fleet. This will not be cost effective however you measure it.
I assume they're not planning to massively downsize as the VX ceos come off lease. Currently the AS Boeing fleet is scheduled to expand by a net of 37 aircraft, which isn't nearly to enough to offset a retirement of 63 VX ceos. So they either need to order more MAXs or take delivery of the current outstanding order of 38 VX neos.

Originally Posted by dayone View Post
An alternative to "leverage" is a most favored nation clause, which I suspect AS (and WN) have in some form.
​​​​​​​
How would the airline enforce that? Order contract terms are almost always confidential, so AS/WN have no way to verify that they are getting the best price other than via Boeing's own assurances (in which case I have a couple bridges to sell them).
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