A Little More From US Airways

Ok, as requested (by at least one person), here are the rest of my notes from US Airways Media Day. I could try to make it all nice and pretty, but nah I’ll just try to make them legible and let you do the rest. These were taken in order during all the talks. I’ll only include the things I didn’t write about a couple days ago.

Overview from Doug Parker and Scott Kirby

  • As of a couple of weeks ago, fuel was expected to cost $800m more this year. Fuel has now gone much higher, so that number will be worse if it holds.
  • They’re going to test a new in-seat inflight entertainment system on one domestic plane this year. That may or may involve internet access, but they aren’t sure.

Schedule Planning/Fleet with Andrew Nocella

  • The domestic network will either be flat or shrink a little. All the growth will be internationally.
  • This year, there will be 10 767s and 9 A330-300s in the fleet, no change from last year. Next year, they’ll add the first 6 of the smaller and longer range A330-200s followed by 6 in 2010 and 5 in 2011.
  • If demand starts going down or fuel gets to be too pricey, they have the flexibility to dump the 767s if they want.
  • Between now and 2011, they expect to add 14 new flights to 9 new European cities.
  • New destinations will be served from Philly, and they make a note to include the Middle East as being a possibility.
  • Phoenix may get flights to Europe and/or Asia, but it probably won’t be until 2010 at the earliest.
  • Charlotte flights to London and Frankfurt do well, and they will likely add flights from Charlotte to destinations already served from Philly. They are also looking at South America from Charlotte and have already applied for Bogotá. (my note: They just lost out yesterday and didn’t get awarded Bogotá.)
  • They’re still trying to figure out how to serve Beijing. The plan was to use A340s, but they have yet to find any that they can get their hands on (cheaply, I would assume). They can serve the route with A330-200s, but they’d rather not.
  • Vegas may get some international flights, but it’s not a focus.
  • 737s will be gone by 2011. Only 18 757s will be kept, all for Transatlantic flying. So, you’ll see Airbus narrowbodies and Embraer 190s on domestic flights (plus Express carriers).
  • They’d like to get rid of as many 50 seaters as they can

Envoy Enhancements with Kevin Jackson and Sherri Shamblin

  • US Airways surveyed 636 Envoy customers who traveled in Feb 2007. 60% of them paid, so these were people they wanted feedback from.
  • US Airways ranked slightly above American, Delta, and Northwest and slightly below United. Air France, Continental, Lufthansa, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic finished higher (unsurprisingly, I’d say).
  • The number one most important factor was that “Flight attendants treat you like a valued customer.” Second was “Meal Quality.” That’s where the airline has been focusing.

Philly Hub with Suzanne Boda

  • This year, they’ll be working to improve checkpoint staffing and improve international re-check of bags
  • By next summer, they’ll have 3 to 6 new intl gates, bigger checkpoints at B and C, and improved airport signage
  • By 2010, the F (Express) terminal will be redesigned and they will have inline baggage screening.
  • In the long term they want 16 new gates (inclusive of the previous 3 to 6)
  • They’d had 56 straight days without a transatlantic cancellation in Philly – over 1100 flights.

Finance with Derek Kerr

  • $300m being spent this year on improving the airline.
  • 30% of costs are fuel, 26% labor, and 13% aircraft/airport rents
  • Every $1 increase in the price of a barrel of oil, annual costs go up $37m for the airline.
  • It costs $31m per day to run the airline (at previously lower fuel levels, I assume).
  • Combine $3b in cash with no major debt payments until 2014, and they’re ready to weather a poor economy if need be.

Government Relations with C.A. Howlett (Yes, he’s still there)

  • Trying to get government to allow airlines to convert Washington/National flights from inside the 1,250 mile perimeter to outside
  • Also trying to convince the government to let them trade 2 slots from inside the perimeter for one outside (as long as the new flight is on an aircraft smaller than a 757). This will help increase the size of aircraft and reduce the number of flights at LaGuardia. To use a 757, they’d need to trade another slot. If that happens, look for long haul flying out of LGA very quickly.
  • Very concerned about all the states trying to enact different passenger rights legislations. It will be really hard to comply without a common standard.
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Margaret NahmiasCFRobert JohnsonMikeAndy Recent comment authors
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Did they mention the new European cities?

I flew USAir last week. Good overall with special kudos to the AmericaWest crew for SFO-PHI and complains for the land agent who made me check in the hand luggage plane-side in PHI and it wasn’t returned plane-side in RDU. I had to wait for all luggage to come out. What a waste of time…


It’ll be interesting to see what they use on the Beijing runs.

Robert Johnson

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Robert Johnson and I am Board Co-Chair of Frequent Flyers Organized and Concerned about Unacceptable Service or FFOCUS (http://www.ffocus.org). I very much enjoyed your article on US Airways. However, while the article highlighted many salient points it completely ignored the customer experience on US Airways along with the changes in policy that have eliminated perks and more importantly some rights that consumers have under the Contract of Carriage. While it is laudable that US Airways finished number one in on time performance in January, one should take note of the other 26… Read more »

Margaret Nahmias
Margaret Nahmias

Robert Johnson forgets that improvement take time. All of what he stated is old news. Journalist don’t cover old news. My experience has been the opposite. I never flew east metal, so I have never been a on dirty aircraft I have never been delayed more than a half hour(which was annoying,but nothing like the four hour disaster on Delta back in 1991). I did not have with the res migration Lines are fact of life in air travel even on the best days. Therefore, I always give myself a suitable cushion especially when traveling far to the airport. A… Read more »