By the Leeham News Team
June 29, 2021, © Leeham News: United Airlines today announced its order for 200 Boeing 737 MAXes and 70 Airbus A321neos.
The size and split of the order were first reported by Airfinance Journal.
The deal is the carrier’s largest, as well as the industry’s largest “in a decade.”* The order is for 50 737 MAX 8s, 150 737 MAX 10s and 70 A321neos. “United will replace older, smaller mainline jets and at least 200 single-class regional jets with larger aircraft,” the airline said.
On March 31, United has 94 A319s and 96 A320s in service and parked. There are 373 737s in service and parked, mostly 737 NGs. There are 61 757s in service and parked.
There were 50 A321XLRs on order, with deliveries beginning after next year. It had 180 737 MAXes (including 100 MAX 10s) on order. Thirteen MAX 8s/9s were scheduled for delivery for the remainder of this year, 40 next year and the remaining 127 after 2022. The MAX 10 now is scheduled to be certificated in 2023, two years later than planned. Deliveries are through 2030.
United also said it will refurbish its entire fleet to expand premium seating. “United Next,” the name of its refleeting, refurbishing and branding campaign, will increase the total number of seats per departure by 30%.
“United expects to introduce more than 500 new, narrow-body aircraft: 40 in 2022, 138 in 2023 and as many as 350 in 2024 and beyond,” the carrier said. “That means in 2023 alone, United’s fleet will, on average, add about one new narrow-body aircraft every three days.”
Although United is reducing its reliance 50-seat jet, it will retain the Mitsubishi CRJ550, a 50-seat downsize version of the 76-seat CRJ700. The -550 is configured with 50 seats, expanded first and premium class sections, larger space for carry-on baggage and added space for food and beverage service.
United now has 120 A321s on order. Boeing missed the opportunity to keep the A321XLR out of the United fleet. UAL ordered the A321XLR because Boeing dawdled on a decision whether to launch the New Midmarket Airplane. United, along with Delta Air Lines, were certain to be launch customers.
Faced with endless indecision by Boeing, United ordered the XLR. Although United did not specify the A321neo model in its press release, it is typical for an airline to have the flexibility to swap sub-types within a specified period before the planned delivery date.
*United must mean among US carriers. India’s Indigo placed an order for 300 Airbus A320s in 2019.