Major American airline United Airlines has announced an order of 110 aircraft, which converted previous options and purchase rights, expanding on previous fleet expansion projects.
This order includes the delivery of 50 Boeing 787-9 from 2028-2031 and 60 Airbus A321neos between 2028 and 2030.
Adding to the current agreement, at the end of the decade, there will be new options for up to 50 more Boeing 787s and purchase rights for up to 40 A321neos.
Building on the company’s ‘United Next’ strategy, between 2023 and the end of 2032, United intends to receive around 800 new narrowbody and widebody aircraft, doubling its current fleet size.
Scott Kirby, United CEO emphasised the company’s long-term fleet plans and how this has helped exceed expectations.
Kirby said: “We’re building a bright future at United and this order takes our already successful United Next plan into the next decade and beyond”.
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“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.”
According to United, one critical element of the ‘United Next’ plan is gauge expansion, which entails flying larger planes with more available seats on the same route.
United averaged 104 seats per North American departure in 2019, one of the lowest in the industry, and they now expect a more than 40% rise to over 145 by 2027.
As previously reported, United’s 2023 Q2 results reported the airline flying its largest-ever schedule across the Atlantic, 32% larger than its 2019 schedule.
This also equates with United’s 2050 sustainability target of reducing 100% of GHG emissions without the need of traditional carbon credits, since these new aircraft will continue to lower per-seat carbon emissions relative to the older models they replace.