1 Word: ConsolidationFor United and other airlines to survive, I think a simple consolidation of fleets will solve a number of problems with minimal impact on the business. By consolidation, I mean establish one plane as THE plane, and sell off everything else. For my money, I would recommend a mid-size Boeing 737. First, by standardizing the fleet on one plane, United would drastically simplify operations for the following reasons:- United would only have to train their maintenance staff on one plane, meaning savings in training cost. Additionally, if someone were sick, it would be easy to find someone with the same expertise. - United could consolidate spare parts. By only having one type of plane to maintain, United could drastically reduce the amount of spare parts, and people working with spare parts issues (i.e. ordering, delivering, etc.)- Pilots would all be trained on one plane, making it easier to find subs in case of sickness, vacation, etc. Additionally, pilots would likely have more of an incentive not to strike, as someone could be easily found to replace them. Next, by standardizing on a mid-size plane, United would reduce the manpower needed on certain routes. It simply takes a bigger flight crew to fly a 767 as it does to fly a 737, which brings me to my next point.Finally, standardizing the fleet should be much easier to do now that the skies are not so full. In the past, certain routes needed a 767 to fly because so many people were on those flights. Now, with flights half full, the process of standardizing on a smaller plane would have a minimal impact on revenue. However, the impact on the bottom line would be huge. Taking the same amount of passengers, only now on a 737 as opposed to a 767, would generate the same revenue, except with much less operating expense (less gas, less time to board, less staff, etc.)By simplifying operations, United could once again become successful...
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