Air Transport World

PSA to tackle noise problem and competition with BAe 146.

SAN DIEGO--Increasing pressures from anti-noise groups and, in the marketing sector, from new entrants to the deregulated air transport scene are giving Pacific Southwest Airlines a hard time. But a bold equipment acquisition policy allied to innovative, low fares should, the company's directors forecast, put a smile on the 1984 balance sheet to match that which has traditionally been painted on the nose of PSA airliners.

PSA's determination to fly out of the economic turbulence has been recently demonstrated by its decision to enter into a deal with British Aerospace for 20 100-seat 146 airliners wort h $300 million, with a further 25 on option. The first will be delivered this year, with the remaining 12 in 1985. The airline has 30 McDennell Douglas DC-9s, 26 of them MD-80s (dc-9-80s), and the other four series 30s, but these were bought in various lots, and the 146 is its biggest single buy in its 35-year history. It was also, incidentally, BAe's biggest civil aircraft order for over 20 years.

The reasoning behind the airline's choice of the 146 was explained to ATW here by Paul C. Barkley, PSA president and chief operating officer, who said that events leading to the decision started when Boeing indicated that it had some 757s for delivery iln spring 1984. PSA looked to see whether it could use the 757 in its system, "but we failed to convince ourselves."

Barkley continued, "We looked at all the markets, and the growth rates, and the competition, and from all that, for the first time in our corporate life, realized that we were looking at our next aircraft being not a larger one, but smaller one. So we started looking around at the smaller units with low trip costs. Usually, when you go down to smaller aircraft, you encounter a seat mile cost penalty, but the 146 had the least such penalty. …

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