There was quite an interesting article in the Los Angeles Times today, about our nation’s “aging airline fleets.”
The reporters noted the recent delays due to maintenance issues, and blamed it in part on the age of the planes, saying U.S. airlines “operate some of the oldest fleets in the world.”
The big problem: older planes need more upkeep, which can mean more down time. And more delays for you and me.
Which U.S. airline operates the oldest fleet? Keep reading, and also keep reading about why this could put us at a disadvantage with “Open Skies.”
According to the LA Times story, Northwest operates the nation’s oldest fleet, and American Airlines has the second oldest fleet.
So? So older planes burn more fuel, and we all know that fuel prices are out of sight. Plus, older planes don’t have the amenities a lot of people want these days (plugs for laptops, individual screens, heck even mood lighting).
Where does Open Skies come in? Well, it’ll mean more competition from carriers like Lufthansa, which (like Singapore Airlines) has been adding new planes at a much faster clip than its U.S. counterparts. And according to one expert cited by the LA Times, “American carriers can’t compete on the global playing field given the kind of low-cost competition coming to our shores with newer fleets’.”
Take it a step further, and it sounds as though the U.S. carriers might have to charge more than the foreign competition. We shall see — and note that, Open Skies begins March 30.