United Takes Steps to Improve On-Time Performance

By Paul Riegler on 8 July 2012
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United Airlines’ chief operating officer, Pete McDonald, announced steps that the airline is taking to ensure that it runs “an on-time operation” after having faced frequent irregular operations in June.

A United crew prepares for departure

According to the e-mail, the steps include:

1.)   More spare aircraft – we are increasing spare capability in our 747, 757 and Airbus fleets, including extending leases for aircraft that were scheduled to be returned. In mid-July, we will add a 777 IPTE-configured spare specifically for routes where we fly that aircraft. In August, we plan to free up a 767.

2.)   More maintenance resources – we are adding more than 200 mechanics and freed up more than 500 hours of technician time per day to focus on preventive maintenance and reducing the number of out-of-service aircraft. In addition, we are working together to route planes to increase maintenance “touch time” by overnighting aircraft at hubs with the right maintenance capability. We expect this will reduce the need for aircraft swaps and the related customer impact.

3.)   More time in crew schedules – we added 15 to 30 minutes for connection times in select pilot and flight attendant crew lines for the August schedule to reduce crew connection delays.

4.)   More time and focus for on-time departures – we are adding block time in both our international and domestic schedules and adjusting ground times. Airport Operations is implementing a number of “quick win” actions to speed both departure and arrival handling, including agents working closely with flight attendants to manage carry-on baggage. On subsidiary UA 757s, we previously increased our boarding time from 30 to 45 minutes in recognition of typically longer boarding on that aircraft.

(Photo: Jonathan Spira)

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