United to purchase up to 200 new Boeing widebody planes

Firm order for 100 new 787 Dreamliners plus options to add 100 more; largest widebody aircraft order by a U.S. carrier

United to purchase up to 200 new Boeing widebody planes

United Airlines announced the largest widebody order by a U.S. carrier in commercial aviation history: 100 Boeing 787 Dreamliners with options to purchase 100 more.

"This historic purchase is the next chapter in the ambitious United Next plan and will bolster the airline's leadership role in global travel for years to come," says an official release.

United expects to take delivery of the new widebody planes between 2024 and 2032, and can choose among the 787-8, 9 or 10 models, providing flexibility to support a wide range of routes, the release added.

United has also exercised options to purchase 44 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for delivery between 2024 and 2026 - consistent with the United Next 2026 capacity plan - and ordered 56 more MAX aircraft for delivery between 2027 and 2028.

"The airline now expects to take delivery of about 700 new narrow and widebody aircraft by the end of 2032 including an average of more than two every week in 2023 and more than three every week in 2024."

Approximately 100 planes of the new widebody order are expected to replace older Boeing 767 and Boeing 777 aircraft with all 767 aircraft removed from the United fleet by 2030, resulting in up to an expected 25 percent decrease in carbon emissions per seat for the new planes compared to the older planes they are expected to replace.

"United emerged from the pandemic as the world's leading global airline and the flag carrier of the United States," says CEO Scott Kirby. "This order further solidifies our lead and creates new opportunities for our customers, employees and shareholders by accelerating our plan to connect more people to more places around the globe and deliver the best experience in the sky."

Stan Deal, president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes adds: "With this investment in its future fleet, the 737 MAX and 787 will help United accelerate its fleet modernization and global growth strategy. The Boeing team is honoured by United's trust in our family of airplanes to connect people and transport cargo around the world for decades to come."

Gerry Laderman, EVP and Chief Financial Officer, United says: "This order solves for our current widebody replacement needs in a more fuel-efficient and cost-efficient way, while also giving our customers a best-in-class experience. And if the future of long-haul flying is as bright as we think it will be, United is able to capitalise on those opportunities by exercising these new widebody options - I look forward to the incremental margin and earnings these aircraft will generate."

Creating tens of thousands of careers
The order is also expected to lead to increased hiring – the airline hired 15,000 people in 2022 and is on track to add another 15,000 next year.

"When I look at our culture and the trajectory of our brand and company, I know this is the best time to join United Airlines," says Kate Gebo, EVP of Human Resources and Labour Relations, United. "We're not just creating jobs – these are long-lasting careers that offer great pay, outstanding benefits and flight privileges to see the world. And the best part is we're actively hiring across every role at the airline."

The airline hired about 2,400 pilots in 2022 and plans to add more than 2,500 pilots in 2023 with a goal to add 10,000 pilots this decade, the release said.

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