The Boeing B767-300ER Dominates US Widebody Flights

The USA has nearly 2,000 domestic widebody flights this week, a whopping 84% more than the same week in 2019. The trend of US carriers deploying otherwise idle aircraft – or those underused or redeployed from international operations – is very much continuing.

Delta B767-300ER
The B767-300ER has more domestic US flights than any other widebody. When writing, this specific example, N190DN, will leave San Diego at 08:00 local time bound for Atlanta. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr.

Nearly 2,000 domestic widebody flights

There are some 1,973 widebody movements within the US this week (take-offs and landings combined), up from 1,078 in 2019. This is based on examining schedules information supplied to data experts Cirium.

In the current week, there is an average of 283 flights daily. In fact, on the day of writing (October 1st), the 300 flight barrier was broken, with 317 movements planned. It is one of just 108 days in 2021 to have had more than 300, with the vast majority, as you’d expect, in June, July, August, and September, the core months for leisure travel.

Some 87 routes will see twin aisles this week, with New York JFK to Los Angeles served the most. At 324 nautical miles, Atlanta to Cincinnati is the shortest. Operating once daily, it departs Atlanta at 22:35 and uses the B767-300ER (a second flight operated on October 1st at 08:35). At 4,427nm, the longest is Boston to Honolulu, served four-weekly by Hawaiian, served with an Airbus A330.

Domestic US widebody flights week starting Oct 1st 2021
These are domestic US widebody passenger routes this week. Atlanta has the most flights, followed by Honolulu, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and JFK. Image: GCMap.

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Delta is mainly responsible for this growth

Four US carriers operate domestic scheduled passenger widebody service: American; Delta; Hawaiian; and United. The following figure shows that all have increased use versus 2019, but it is very much about Delta, whose widebody offering has increased fivefold.

While impressive in itself, it is even more so when all four airlines’ overall domestic flights are still lower than previously. Widebodies have become disproportionately important, although they are, of course, still a small overall part of each carrier’s total flights.

While United’s total domestic offering is down by 16%, its widebody use is up by 50%. For American, movements are down by 15% while widebody service is up by 27%. Hawaiian has added 15 widebody movements (+7.9%) while its total is down by over one-quarter. And while Delta has one-fifth fewer domestic movements, its widebody service is up by 380%.

US domestic widebody flights_ week starting October 1st
Delta’s widebody movments have risen by 380% this week versus the pre-pandemic period. Source: Cirium.

11 aircraft are used

Some 11 widebody types operate this week, with the B767-300ER down for the most internal flights, based on Cirium data. Despite American Airlines retiring its Boeing 767s last year, the Boeing twinjet features prominently because United and especially Delta are using it much more intensely. In 2019, the type had ‘only’ 240 flights; now, there are 125% more.

  1. B767-300/300ER: approximately 541 domestic flights this October week
  2. B777-200/200ER: 357
  3. A330-200: 283
  4. B767-400ER: 264
  5. B777-300ER: 239
  6. B787-8: 84
  7. B787-9: 84
  8. A330-300: 75
  9. B787-10: 27
  10. A330-900: 20
  11. A350-900: 8
Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330-243 N373HA (1)
Hawaiian has 13 domestic routes by its A330-200s. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

Despite American retiring its 24-strong fleet of A330s, movements by the type are up by 63% if the -200 and larger -300 are combined. Only Delta and Hawaiian operate the A330 now, although the rise in use is almost entirely from Delta (+986%!) with 138 extra weekly flights.

What is your best experience of flying a twin-aisle domestically? Let us know in the comments.

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