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Old 02-28-2005, 10:03 AM   #1  
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Default US Airways to Cut Fleet by 4%

US Airways to Ground 11 Planes, Cut More Routes
Friday, February 25, 2005

WASHINGTON US Airways will ground 11 mainline planes and eliminate additional service beginning in May in the latest thrust to cut costs and shed capacity on underperforming routes, the bankrupt carrier said Friday.

While the seventh-largest domestic carrier has negotiated swaps and new lease terms with creditors for aircraft, the decision to take nearly a dozen older model Boeing Co. 737s out of service is its first move to shrink primary operations since entering bankruptcy in September 2004.

The size of US Airways' active mainline fleet will now drop by nearly 5 percent from 282 to 271. The airline and its pilots reached a concession agreement last fall that removed a provision requring it to operate at least 279 planes.

The carrier has yet to decide which 737s to ground, but those needing big maintenance or expensive upgrades likely will be the first to go.

Big airlines continue to be squeezed by high fuel prices and weak revenues due to low fares and excess seat availability.

US Airways has been retooling its schedule and trying to use aircraft more efficiently to maximize revenues and conserve cash to exit bankruptcy by June 30. It plans to file a reorganization plan by March 15.
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