United Airlines makes big Boeing order, includes 100 787 Dreamliners

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC/CHICAGO Dec 13 (Reuters) – United Airlines (UAL.O) said on Tuesday that it is ordering 100 Boeing (TO FORBID) 787 Dreamliners and 100 737 MAX as it pushes for post-pandemic growth and replaces older, less efficient planes.

The Chicago-based airline’s 200-plane order is worth around $43 billion at list prices and represents a big boost for the US aircraft maker after political and production issues for both planes this year.

United said its new order for 100 737 MAX planes includes exercising options to buy 44 737 MAX planes to be delivered between 2024 and 2026 and had ordered another 56 MAX planes to be delivered between 2027 and 2028 and now 443 MAX on order. .

United’s big bet on the 787 reflects expectations of continued rising demand for long-haul travel and a desire to replace older planes. Boeing said it was the largest Dreamliner order, while United said it was the largest widebody order by a US carrier.

Boeing shares rose 2.7% and United shares were flat in premarket trading. United will average more than two new aircraft deliveries per week next year and more than three per week in 2024.

United also said it would again delay its previously announced order for 45 Airbuses. (AIR.PA) A350 until 2030 “at the earliest”.

Industry sources said this order, an expanded version of an order dating back to 2009, is effectively in limbo after several delays and may not materialize.

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

Airbus was not immediately available for comment.

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

“When we’re trying to recruit 2,500 pilots a year and grow the airline, introducing a new type of fleet slows down significantly,” Kirby said.

Guests for the premiere of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner are reflected in the plane’s fuselage 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 2,500 additional pilots.

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

United’s chief commercial officer Andrew Nocella said the order would allow it to replace older planes with new, more fuel-efficient planes with more premium seats that carry more cargo and fly faster. “We make more money,” Nocella said of the plan.

United said its capital spending budget for 2023 is $9 billion and $11 billion for 2024, with the bulk going to new aircraft.

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

Both the MAX and the 787 have encountered 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 in July approved Boeing’s inspection and modernization plan needed to meet standards. certification and inspects each aircraft prior to delivery.

Boeing suffered a setback last week when Congress refused to extend an impending deadline that would impose new safety standards for the MAX 7 and MAX 10 variants. United said 80 of the 100 new MAX planes it is ordering will be MAX 10s.

Boeing has been pushing for months to convince lawmakers to waive the delay affecting its MAX 7 and MAX 10 planes that was imposed by Congress in 2020 after two fatal 737 MAX crashes killed 346 people in Indonesia and Ethiopia. .

On the extension, Kirby said he was “pretty sure it would happen at the next Congress” as “it was the right safety outcome” but reiterated that United could move on. other MAX variants or buy more Airbus planes if lawmakers disagree.

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

United said it was making no 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; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Alexander Smith

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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