United Airlines makes big Boeing order, includes 100 787 Dreamliners

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NORTH CHARLESTON, SC/CHICAGO Dec. 13 (Reuters) – United Airlines (UAL.O) said Tuesday it is ordering 100 Boeing (BA.N) 787 Dreamliners and 100 737 MAXs as it pushes for post-pandemic growth and older, less – efficient aircraft.

The Chicago-based airline’s order for 200 aircraft, valued at approximately $43 billion at list prices, represents a big boost for the American aircraft maker after political and production problems for the two aircraft this year.

United said the new order of 100 737 MAX aircraft includes the exercise of options to purchase 44 737 MAX aircraft for delivery between 2024 and 2026 and had ordered 56 additional MAX aircraft for delivery between 2027 and 2028 and now has 443 MAXs in order.

United’s large commitment to the 787 reflects expectations for continued rising demand for long-haul travel and a desire to replace older aircraft. Boeing said it was the largest Dreamliner order, while United said it was the largest widebody order by a US airline.

Shares of Boeing rose 2.7% and shares of United remained flat in premarket trading. United will take on average more than two new aircraft deliveries a week next year and more than three a week in 2024.

United also said it would again delay the previously announced order for 45 Airbus (AIR.PA) A350s to 2030 “at the earliest”.

Industry sources have said that this order, an extended version of one dating back to 2009, is actually in limbo after several delays and may not materialize.

United CEO Scott Kirby told reporters, “The right time for a 350 versus (787) conversation is when we replace the bulk of 777s, which really doesn’t start until the end of the decade.”

Airbus was not immediately available for comment.

Kirby said a major factor in the decision between Boeing and Airbus for its large widebody order was the current 787 fleet.

“As we try to attract 2,500 pilots a year and grow the airline, the introduction of a new fleet type slows that down dramatically,” Kirby said.

Invitees to the premiere of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner are reflected in the fuselage of the plane at the 787 assembly plant in Everett, Washington, July 8, 2007. REUTERS/Robert Sorbo/File Photo

United hired 15,000 new employees in 2022, including 2,400 pilots, and is on track to hire 15,000 in 2023, including an additional 2,500 pilots.

It expects to deliver 787s between 2024 and 2032 and can choose from 787-8, 9 or 10 models. United will buy 787s to replace its entire 767 fleet by 2030, and about 777s, reducing carbon emissions per seat by about 25% for the new planes.

United Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Nocella said the order will enable older aircraft to be replaced with new, more fuel-efficient aircraft with more premium seats that carry more cargo and fly faster. “We’re making more money,” Nocella said of the plan.

United said its investment budget for 2023 is $9 billion and $11 billion for 2024, with the majority for new aircraft.

The airline plans to tout the order at an event Tuesday at Boeing’s South Carolina plant with Stan Deal, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Both the MAX and the 787 have had problems this year.

In August, Boeing finally resumed 787 deliveries after production issues forced it to suspend deliveries in May 2021. The Federal Aviation Administration approved Boeing’s inspection and retrofit plan necessary to meet certification standards in July and inspects every aircraft before delivery.

Last week, Boeing suffered a setback when Congress refused to extend a looming deadline that would impose new safety standards on the MAX 7 and MAX 10 variants. United said 80 of the new 100 MAX aircraft it orders will be the MAX 10.

Boeing has been lobbying for months to convince lawmakers to waive the deadline that affects its MAX 7 and MAX 10 aircraft and was mandated by Congress in 2020 after two deadly 737 MAX crashes that killed 346 people arrived in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

On the extension, Kirby said he was “pretty sure it will happen in the next Congress” because “it was the right safety outcome,” but reiterated that United could switch to other MAX variants or buy more Airbus planes if the legislators disagreed.

In June 2021, United announced its largest-ever order of 270 Boeing and Airbus jets, including 200 Boeing 737 MAX and 70 Airbus A321neo jets as part of its “United Next” growth plan.

United said it was not making any changes to the A321neo order.

Reporting by David Shepardson in North Charleston, SC and Rajesh Kumar Singh in Chicago; additional reporting by Tim Hepher in Paris; Edited by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Alexander Smith

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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