Hong Kong, Shanghai, Oh My

American Airlines has announced that it is adding two new routes from DFW to Hong Kong and Shanghai and has done so with great fanfare.

The Shanghai route will use American’s 777-200ER but the Hong Kong route will make use of AA’s newest 777, the 777-300ER.

When American Airlines ordered the 777-300ER a few years ago, it felt like a very, very good decision.  In fact, in some ways it simply defied imagination that AA was the US airline that finally decided to buy the -300ER (none had done so at that time and none have made such an order today.)

I’m a fervent believer that international routes will trend towards longer, thinner routes.  I do not believe that either the 747 or the A380 has a very strong place in the airline world today.  But I also think that the 777 fits neatly into that high capacity, long route structure that so many airlines are using to make big money from.

And American is clearly doing very, very well using the -300ER.  So well that one does wonder at the reticence to purchase being shown by both United and Delta.  Yes, each still has the 747-400 and I would argue that neither is well served by that aircraft.  Particularly in light of the age and the changing structure of routes.

So let’s celebrate something that you hear  very rarely from me:  Congratulations to American Airlines for a very wise decision.

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2 Responses to “Hong Kong, Shanghai, Oh My”

  1. The 747 has been money for United and Northwest over the years. United has ordered the A350-1000 which would seem to be their 747 replacement and would also support your thinning routes hypothesis. The A380 has no place in the US market and without a Boeing alternative, it’s either the 777-300ER or the A350-1000 in that space. Delta’s recent order of A321s and A330s may pave the way for an A350 order.

  2. Well, a number of airlines have indicated that the A350-1000 isn’t the ideal 777-300ER replacement since the 777 can lift and carry a great deal more weight (i.e. cargo). I agree that United seems to have chosen the A350-1000 but I think that is to upgauge the 777-200 aircraft they have which are considerably old.

    As for Delta, I wonder at times what their strategy will be. They continue to defer fuel efficient aircraft and I do wonder how long that can go on. I realize they’re making their decisions on capital costs (not incorrectly) but there is a line you have to be very careful not to cross there. Witness what it did to American Airlines with respect to the MD-80 fleet.

    The 777-9X appears to be able to hold its own and even pull ahead at this point. Much can change. Personally, I think that Boeing will bring about a range/lift improvement with the -9X by deleting the folding wings (again) from the 777.

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