United to open new crew bases in network realignment

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United Airlines will open new crew bases at Chicago O'Hare, Denver and Houston Intercontinental as part of its ongoing network realignment.

The Chicago-based carrier will open a Boeing 737 base in Chicago and a Boeing 767 base in Denver with legacy Continental crews, and an Airbus base in Houston with legacy United crews, says Howard Attarian, vice-president of flight operations at United.

He was speaking during a 787 rollout ceremony in Seattle on 2 August 2012.

United merged with Continental Airlines in 2010 and is in the process of realigning its network to improve operational performance at its 10 hubs in Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Guam, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, Tokyo Narita and Washington Dulles.

The airline has announced numerous new routes and cancelled others as part of the realignment since 2010. It announced nine new routes from its Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington hubs and cancelled services between Houston and eight cities, including Greensboro, Mazatlan and Paris, last month.

Jeff Smisek, president and chief executive of United, said the airline failed to meet its operational targets in the second quarter and apologised to customers during an earnings call last month.

To address this, the airline will be returning six aircraft to its fleet of spares, bringing the total number of spares to 15 out of its legacy United fleet.

United had previously increased its number of spare aircraft, says Attarian.