It’s official. United Airlines is ordering 270 new aircraft; a mix of Airbus and Boeing narrbowdy jets. In fact, by 2023, United will be accepting delivery of one jet every three days.
United Airlines Orders 270 New Aircraft
As expected, United is ordering nearly 300 new aircraft, the largest order in United’s history. The order includes both Airbus A321 and Boeing 737 MAX jets:
- 70 Airbus A321neos
- 50 Boeing 737 MAX 8s
- 150 Boeing 737 MAX 10s
The new aircraft will feature a mix seating including first class, Economy Plus (extra legroom economy), and economy class as well as:
- a new signature interior with seat-back entertainment in every seat
- Bluetooth technology for easy connections between wireless headphones and the seat-back entertainment screens
- USB and electrical charge ports at every seat
- larger overhead bins to provide space for more carry-on bags
- industry’s “fastest available” in-flight WiFi
- LED lighting
United just took delivery of its first new 737 MAX 8 with the signature interior and will begin flying it this summer. The 737 MAX 10 and the Airbus A321neo will take to the skies in early 2023. Initial delivered will not include lie-flat seating in first class.
A Bigger Premium Footprint
The 737 MAX 8 will feature 16 first class seats and 54 Economy Plus seats while the 737 MAX 10 and A321neo will feature 20 seats in first class and 64 Economy Plus seats.
These aircraft, combined with previously-announced A321XLR, 737, and 787 orders, will amount to 500 new aircraft. Meanwhile, United plans to retire about 200 single-class, 50-seat regional jets and 100 older mainline aircraft, including some 737 and 757-200 aircraft.
This will lead to a 30% increase in total seats for North American departures by 2025 and a 75% increase in “premium seats” (including Economy Plus) for North American departures (because the single-cabin regional jets without first class or Economy Plus will be replaced by mainline or larger regional jets).
CRJs will still have a place at United – over 100 will remain in service and be concentrated in Denver to connect smaller cities. But United promises small jets will no longer be used to fly to “larger” communities.
More Jobs At United Airlines
United’s new aircraft order is expected to create about 25,000 “well-paying, unionized” jobs by 2026, including the following at each of the airline’s seven, major U.S. hubs:
- Newark (EWR) – up to 5,000 jobs
- San Francisco (SFO) – up t0 4,000 jobs
- Washington Dulles (IAD) – up to 3,000 jobs
- Chicago (ORD) – up to 3,000 jobs
- Houston (IAH) – up to 3,000 jobs
- Denver (DEN) – up to 3,000 jobs
- Los Angeles – up to 1,400 jobs
When asked to justify this number, United stated that this was a best-guess estimate as to how many jobs would be needed to accommodate the new aircraft deliveries and subsequent expansion of service, but did not go into greater detail concerning its methodology.
A350 + A321XLR Orders Still On The Books
Andrew Nocella, United’s Chief Commercial Officer, confirmed that the Airbus A350 order is “still on the books.” In 2009, United announced an order for 25 Airbus A350-900s, with delivery starting in 2016.
But in 2013, United converted the order to A350-1000s, added 10 aircraft, and pushed delivery back to 2018.
In 2017, United again converted the order, moving it back to A350-900s and adding 10 more aircraft for a total of 45.
Then in 2019 it announced it would not take delivery of the A350-900s until 2027. It also ordered 50 Airbus A321XLR.
It remains to be seen whether United will ever actually fly the A350, but today’s A321neo order did not come at the expense of the prior A350 or A321XLR orders.
It’s a big week for United. First the carrier announced a return to profitability and now the carrier has announced a new order for 270 aircraft and a plan to transform the domestic mainline fleet with new interiors, fast wi-fi, and seatback screens.