Airlines United Airlines eyes new aircraft for fleet renewal

  • Boeing

US carrier United Airlines has published a list with possible aircraft candidates for its fleet renewal.

  • 115

The three major US carrier Delta Airlines, United Airlines and American Airlines do all have the same problem: They are operating a fleet of older aircraft types, like the Boeing 757 or the McDonnell Douglas MD88, which needs to replace in the next years.

Some days ago, Delta Air Lines has announced it is interested in Boeings new Middle of the Market Aircraft, which could be delivered in the middle of the 2020’s.

Now Delta’s competitor United Airlines has presented its plans for the replacement of its fleet. Similar to Delta, United Airlines operates a large fleet of 77 older Boeing 757-200/-300 and 35 Boeing 767-300ER. In a presentation, held by United’s senior vice-president of finance, procurement and treasurer, Gerry Laderman showed a slide with possible candidates for the replacement.

United Airlines fleet renewal plan
United Airlines fleet renewal plan © Boeing

According to the presentation, United is considering several aircraft as new opportunities for the Boeing 757 and B767 fleet with the goal of a near term replacement. Beside the smaller Boeing B737 MAX 10 and the Airbus A321Neo, Boeing’s new middle of the market aircraft could become an alternative. United operates its Boeing 757-200 in two different three-class configurations for 142 or 169 passengers in business, premium economy and economy class.  The Boeing 737 MAX 10 and Airbus A321Neo could replace these aircraft with a similar seating capacity. The larger Boeing 757-300 with 213 seats in first, premium economy and economy class does currently not have a similar successor. For a replacement of the older Boeing 767, United is considering the Boeing 787-8 and Airbus A330-800Neo. As United already operates 12 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner with a similar seat configuration compared to the Boeing 767, the jets could become an attractive replacement aircraft. The Airbus A330-800Neo could become the second Airbus long-haul aircraft in United’s fleet, beside the 45 ordered A350-900 which will enter into service from late 2022. Currently, only Hawaiian Airlines ordered the A330-800Neo. Media has reported the carrier plans to cancel the order. A possible United Airlines order could increase the possibility for the production of the new aircraft type.

In a long term perspective, United plans to replace its older Airbus A319, A320 and Boeing 737-700 and B737-800 fleet. The airline operates 67 A319, 99 A320, 40 B737-700 and over 140 Boeing 737-800 on domestic and international routes. For the replacement of the short- and medium haul aircraft, United is considering aircraft of four different aircraft manufacturers. As the slide shows, one opportunity is the acquisition of used A320 and Boeing 737 Family aircraft of the Next Generation-series. Another possibility could be the order of latest-generation Airbus A320 Neo Family and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. A replacement with Embraer’s latest generation E190E2 and E195E2 or even Bombardier’s CSeries aircraft could be seen as a warning to the current duopoly of Airbus and Boeing on the single-aisle market. After Delta Air Lines announced an order for 75 Bombardier CS100, United Airlines could become the second US carrier ordering the Canadian aircraft type.  


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