kabq737
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What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:17 pm

HI all. I looked for any threads like this and did not find any so I apologize if this is a duplicate.

I was wondering if you think that Southwest would have ordered the A320 series instead of the 737 series if it was available when Southwest began operations. I see some positives for the A320 series such as cockpit commonality and ULD capabilities for quick turns.

PLEASE DO NOT turn this into an Airbus vs. Boeing flame war. I simply want to discuss how Southwest would have handled the narrow body decision if the A320 was available at the beginning of the airlines life.
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Continental767
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:23 pm

I don’t think it would have mattered. If WN wanted the A320, I’m sure Airbus would cut them a great deal.
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lostsound
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:25 pm

Your asking if Southwest would have operated A320s had they been available in 1971. I could see this being a plausible question had Southwest started up in say 1985 but the A320 couldn't have existed in 1971 as it introduced new technology that wasn't ready to be utilized. In this scenario, we'd have to assume the 737 was also available with all the enhancements it had received by the time the A320 was launched. But to answer the question anyway, I assume it would be a price driven deal given the business model of Southwest.
 
eraugrad02
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:27 pm

No. Southwest started flying with 737-200. Well before the A320
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2Holer4Longhaul
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:32 pm

Short answer: maybe
Medium-sized but adequate answer: if WN did not have 737s on hand when the A320 came around, it would've bought whichever plane was cheaper. It's all about the money.
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kabq737
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:38 pm

I should have phrased my question more effectively. I understand that these airliners are from a completely different era. I was just wondering if we think that Southwest would have been open to the aircraft. I ask because Southwest is of course not open to the A320 currently. I wonder if they would have been if it was an option in the past or if there is something about the airframe that deters them.
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ikolkyo
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:55 pm

kabq737 wrote:
I should have phrased my question more effectively. I understand that these airliners are from a completely different era. I was just wondering if we think that Southwest would have been open to the aircraft. I ask because Southwest is of course not open to the A320 currently. I wonder if they would have been if it was an option in the past or if there is something about the airframe that deters them.


Honestly the best answer is who the heck knows? If anything I'd say no because a startup airline is gonna start with some cheap used aircraft.
 
iceberg210
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:55 pm

Given that they tried 727's at one point but found them too big, I think they wouldn't have gone to the A320 either, if it weren't the 737-200 probably would have been a DC9-30 40 or 50. Oddly enough wonder what that might have meant for the MD 80 and 90.
 
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:57 pm

iceberg210 wrote:
Given that they tried 727's at one point but found them too big, I think they wouldn't have gone to the A320 either, if it weren't the 737-200 probably would have been a DC9-30 40 or 50. Oddly enough wonder what that might have meant for the MD 80 and 90.


This. The "base" 32x are the 320 (~180 seats in a WN configuration) and the 319 (~140 seats in a WN configuration). WN's fleet in 2000 consisted of 122-137 seat airplanes, and they still had the lowest load factor of any major.
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SPREE34
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:16 pm

Continental767 wrote:
I don’t think it would have mattered. If WN wanted the A320, I’m sure Airbus would cut them a great deal.


The 320 didn't exist in 1971. But if it had, SWA would have bought what was best for the bottom line.
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:38 pm

iceberg210 wrote:
Given that they tried 727's at one point but found them too big, I think they wouldn't have gone to the A320 either, if it weren't the 737-200 probably would have been a DC9-30 40 or 50. Oddly enough wonder what that might have meant for the MD 80 and 90.


I think the more interesting question is what would have happened if Southwest chose the DC9 instead of the 737. In the early 1970s the 737 almost went out of production. Southwest launched the 737-300 and without them and USAir (who each ordered 10) there may never have been a 737 classic, NG or MAX.
 
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DDR
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:52 pm

Newbiepilot wrote:
iceberg210 wrote:
Given that they tried 727's at one point but found them too big, I think they wouldn't have gone to the A320 either, if it weren't the 737-200 probably would have been a DC9-30 40 or 50. Oddly enough wonder what that might have meant for the MD 80 and 90.


I think the more interesting question is what would have happened if Southwest chose the DC9 instead of the 737. In the early 1970s the 737 almost went out of production. Southwest launched the 737-300 and without them and USAir (who each ordered 10) there may never have been a 737 classic, NG or MAX.


What this guy said. The real competition to the 737 was the DC-9 during WN's start up. The A320 wasn't even on the drawing board.
 
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Continental767
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:54 pm

SPREE34 wrote:
Continental767 wrote:
I don’t think it would have mattered. If WN wanted the A320, I’m sure Airbus would cut them a great deal.


The 320 didn't exist in 1971. But if it had, SWA would have bought what was best for the bottom line.


I meant recently. I imagine Airbus would offer any price necessary to get into the WN fleet, if WN actually wanted it.
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Samrnpage
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:56 pm

If the A320 was around when WN started, WN would have weighed up all options including the A320 and would've chosen the best option for them at the time. If that means they chose the A320 or 737 WHO KNOWS.

Simple answer to a rhetorical question that doesnt need a thread to work out the answer.
 
kabq737
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:56 pm

Newbiepilot wrote:
iceberg210 wrote:
Given that they tried 727's at one point but found them too big, I think they wouldn't have gone to the A320 either, if it weren't the 737-200 probably would have been a DC9-30 40 or 50. Oddly enough wonder what that might have meant for the MD 80 and 90.


I think the more interesting question is what would have happened if Southwest chose the DC9 instead of the 737. In the early 1970s the 737 almost went out of production. Southwest launched the 737-300 and without them and USAir (who each ordered 10) there may never have been a 737 classic, NG or MAX.

That is absolutely the more realistic question. I think it’s very possible that WN could’ve helped MCD stay in business provided they could put the MD-80 on a common type certificate.
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maxpower1954
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:14 am

Southwest originally planned to operate three ex-American Lockheed Electras but the three year delay from the Braniff/Texas International lawsuit allowed them to obtain three white tail 737-200s.
They were not originally ordered by Southwest.
 
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aemoreira1981
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:36 am

Newbiepilot wrote:
iceberg210 wrote:
Given that they tried 727's at one point but found them too big, I think they wouldn't have gone to the A320 either, if it weren't the 737-200 probably would have been a DC9-30 40 or 50. Oddly enough wonder what that might have meant for the MD 80 and 90.


I think the more interesting question is what would have happened if Southwest chose the DC9 instead of the 737. In the early 1970s the 737 almost went out of production. Southwest launched the 737-300 and without them and USAir (who each ordered 10) there may never have been a 737 classic, NG or MAX.


Not a bad question to ask. The Boeing 737-200 (of which WN took some NTUs to start) had better range than the DC-9, but at the time WN was an intrastate airline. What would have been interesting is if McDonnell Douglas had developed a high-bypass-powered aircraft as the Boeing 737-300 was announced. I wouldn't be surprised if that influenced the decision. Had WN gone with the MD-80 series, Airbus would probably have been approaching WN about operating the A320, but there was also something else to consider: the Boeing 737 was certified for a much longer lifespan than the Airbus A320 was at the time, and WN's business model deals with long-term aircraft ownership (less than 20 percent of WN's fleet is leased, and a large number of that is sale-leasebacks). Today, the A320 family has a similar lifespan, but that ship sailed and I will say it sailed when the Boeing 737-300 was selected over the McDonnell Douglas MD-81.
 
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:59 am

aemoreira1981 wrote:
Newbiepilot wrote:
iceberg210 wrote:
Given that they tried 727's at one point but found them too big, I think they wouldn't have gone to the A320 either, if it weren't the 737-200 probably would have been a DC9-30 40 or 50. Oddly enough wonder what that might have meant for the MD 80 and 90.


I think the more interesting question is what would have happened if Southwest chose the DC9 instead of the 737. In the early 1970s the 737 almost went out of production. Southwest launched the 737-300 and without them and USAir (who each ordered 10) there may never have been a 737 classic, NG or MAX.


Not a bad question to ask. The Boeing 737-200 (of which WN took some NTUs to start) had better range than the DC-9, but at the time WN was an intrastate airline.

The three NTU 737-200s were two Aloha and one PSA aircraft. Aloha eventually ended up with one for a short time. :old:
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barney captain
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:16 am

Somewhat related is the story of Herb negotiating with Boeing for the price of the 737-300. As the discussion wore on, Herb nonchalantly pulled a pen from his pocket, placed it on the table in front of him and casually continued on bargaining.


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We were announced as the launch customer shortly thereafter. :bigthumbsup:
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:53 am

I don't think it would have mattered. After all, Ryanair's first 737 appeared after the 320 was available. It's not as though every airline interested in buying their first 130-150 seat single-aisle twin after 1985 automatically went for Airbus. Also, Southwest could have made a fleet change to the A319/A320 like EasyJet if it was that compelling.
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:04 am

Considering WNs beginning business model, the A320 series would probably be too big, as would the current 737. They would be an EMB, BBD, or maybe even ATRcustomer if they started today.
 
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:23 am

The first sentence from my reply above was from aeomoreira1981. This blog failed to note it. My apologies. :old:
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767333ER
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:52 am

Basically what this is if what if Southwest didn’t have an existing fleet that demanded for certain commonality nor a history with dealing with Boeing. I would imagine it comes down to price like it almost always does. One thing mentioned is cycles and considering the structure of Southwest, especially when they started, this might have really mattered considering the A320of yesterday can’t live as long as a brand new one unless life extension is done, though the best plane by that measure is any DC-9 variant.

Similar scenario would be if the 737 had been discontinued somewhere along the line and there is no plane available that shares commonality with the existing fleet. This scenario however is realistic and will happen one day.
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:14 am

kabq737 wrote:
That is absolutely the more realistic question. I think it’s very possible that WN could’ve helped MCD stay in business provided they could put the MD-80 on a common type certificate.


It is. Type certificate A6WE covers all variants of the DC-9 and MD-80, the MD-90-30, and the 717-200.

http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_an ... E/A6WE.pdf
 
kabq737
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:30 am

hawaiian717 wrote:
kabq737 wrote:
That is absolutely the more realistic question. I think it’s very possible that WN could’ve helped MCD stay in business provided they could put the MD-80 on a common type certificate.


It is. Type certificate A6WE covers all variants of the DC-9 and MD-80, the MD-90-30, and the 717-200.

http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_an ... E/A6WE.pdf

Oh interesting. Glad to hear that. Thanks!
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:05 am

Very unlikely. They operated 732's and 722's in the beginning.
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:18 am

maxpower1954 wrote:
Southwest originally planned to operate three ex-American Lockheed Electras but the three year delay from the Braniff/Texas International lawsuit allowed them to obtain three white tail 737-200s.
They were not originally ordered by Southwest.


I vaguely remember Herb saying something like thanking Braniff/TI for the lawsuit, since the Electras wouldn't have been anywhere near as efficient as the 737-200s and Southwest probably wouldn't've made it..
 
BobbyPSP
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:21 am

Isn’t the 320 about 10,000lbs heavier than comparable 737 variant? Plus at that time they certainly didn’t need transcon ability if they went for a319/320.
 
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aemoreira1981
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:38 pm

OA940 wrote:
Very unlikely. They operated 732's and 722's in the beginning.


However, circa 1980, the choice was between the MD-81/2 and the B733. The B733 had high-bypass engines while the MD-80 series had low-bypass engines. I have to wonder if that is what caused WN to go with the B733, while the MD-80 series was more suitable to Europe.
 
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:52 pm

A320 is too high off the ground .. so can’t do southwest’s super fast turns.. cargo doors are slow to open and close ... and about 6 feet off the ground .. a 737 is about 4 feet off the ground so an normal size ramoer can load a stroller or bag without use of any beltloader or stand .. just open the door put in the bag... seems like a small detail but southwest has to operate on 20 min turns ...
 
SPREE34
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:38 pm

The 727 references made in the thread are in error.

SWA did not operate 732 and 722 "in the beginning". Only the 732.

"...727s.....found them too big". The 727s operated in the 80s were gap filler leases while awaiting 733 deliveries. They needed the uplift, so leased them temporarily, much as they did the Airlingus and ex Frontier 732s.
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:08 pm

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BlueberryWheats
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:07 am

kabq737 wrote:
I see some positives for the A320 series such as cockpit commonality and ULD capabilities for quick turns.


I suppose they already have a a lot of cockpit commonality by using only 737 aircraft. I know the older models will be a bit different but there'll still be systems/design philosophy commonality and eventually they'll all out of the fleet (if not already). Isn't the 737NG and 737MAX cockpit VERY similar, if not the same?
 
kabq737
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Re: What if the A320 Was Avialable When Southwest Was Young?

Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:07 pm

BlueberryWheats wrote:
kabq737 wrote:
I see some positives for the A320 series such as cockpit commonality and ULD capabilities for quick turns.


I suppose they already have a a lot of cockpit commonality by using only 737 aircraft. I know the older models will be a bit different but there'll still be systems/design philosophy commonality and eventually they'll all out of the fleet (if not already). Isn't the 737NG and 737MAX cockpit VERY similar, if not the same?

Oh yes they do get much commonality. I did not start this thread to criticize WN or anything like that I was more just thinking about what it would be like if they did have the A320 series.

As for the 737 NG AND MAX cockpit the overhead panned is the same, the yokes are the same, the MCP is the same, the FMC console is the same, and the throttle quadrant is the same with the exception of the fuel cutoff switches. The only major differences are in the radio stack down on the center console and the addition of much larger screens as well as relocation of the landing gear lever.

Overall it’s VERY similar to the NG.
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