United Airlines said it would buy up to 110 new airplanes from both Boeing and Airbus in deals worth an estimate US$19 billion before discounts. The airline plans to buy 50 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 60 Airbus A321neos. Deliveries will begin in five years.
“Upon introduction of the A321neo into its fleet in the coming weeks, United will take full benefit of Airbus’ Airspace cabin, providing an exceptional customer and cabin crew experience completely in phase with the United Next initiative,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International. “With regard to operations, the A321neo’s fuel efficiency, lower carbon footprint and lower maintenance and operating costs will be a game changer for our partners at United.”
United’s A321neo aircraft will feature the Airbus Airspace cabin, which includes a unique welcome area and the latest full LED lighting technologies (which helps to reduce jet lag); new slimmer sidewall panels for extra personal space at shoulder level; improved window views with redesigned bezels and completely integrated window shades; new large overhead bins; and additional elements to enhance the passenger experience.
Boeing said United is expanding its 787 Dreamliner fleet, exercising options to order 50 787-9 airplanes and securing an additional 50 options.
“We’re building a bright future at United, and this order takes our already successful United Next plan into the next decade and beyond,” said Scott Kirby, United CEO. “Our planning and focus on the long term have helped us surge past other airlines that stood still. I’m convinced our strategy is the right one as we continue to add new, larger aircraft to take full advantage of our growing flying opportunities both internationally and domestically.”
With 150 firm orders, United has the largest Dreamliner orderbook on record and is positioned to become the largest 787 operator in the world. Today’s announcement follows the airline’s record-setting purchase of 100 787 airplanes last year.
As the first airline to operate all three models in the 787 family, United’s existing fleet consists of more than 70 Dreamliners. The fuel efficiency and reliability of the 787 provide United with the flexibility to fly its expansive global route network.
“United’s unprecedented commitment to the 787 Dreamliner family is a testament to the market-leading operating economics and reliability of Boeing’s widebody jets,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “With the 787, United will enjoy all the synergies of operating one of the largest, most efficient fleets in the skies.”