United Airlines will accelerate its Boeing 737 MAX delivery schedule and buy 25 additional jets in a sign of confidence that air travel will return in 2022.
United Airlines Buys More 737 MAX Aircraft
Announced by Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Nocella to staff in a note this morning, United Airlines will add to its already substantial order for 737 MAX aircraft.
- 25 new 737 MAX aircraft for delivery in 2021
- Delivery of 40 737 MAX moved to 2022
- Delivery of 5 737 MAX moved to 2023
- In addition to the 24 737 MAX already scheduled to be delivered in 2023
United has firm commitments on a total of 188 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
That’s 94 new aircraft in the United fleet over those two years. And that’s good news for our employees, our customers, the environment and the communities we serve around the world.
These new aircraft represent the best the industry has to offer in terms of customer amenities, experience and comfort. In fact, flights on our MAX aircraft in 2018 and 2019 had the highest average customer satisfaction score of any large narrowbody aircraft. And from an environmental perspective, these aircraft offer 15% better fuel efficiency compared to current-generation aircraft. That’s an important benefit for the environment, as we establish our industry-leading, 100% green commitment to sustainability. It’s also a benefit to our bottom line whenever we have to buy less fuel.
It’s interesting that Nocella argues the 737 MAX offers industry best customer amenities, experience, and comfort. Quite the contrary, I’d argue that without IFE screens and with a tiny mid-aircraft lavatory, the aircraft is not even the most comfortable 737 in the United fleet.
Nevertheless, a United employee tells me that United has nicely re-designed the interior of the 737 MAX, adding a bulkhead between cabins.
Nocella believes that United has turned the corner and that recovery is in sight:
Today, we’re even more confident in our ability to navigate the recovery, regardless of the inevitable bumps and dips in the months ahead. With a number of our aircraft nearing the end of their lifecycle and the growth opportunities that we know will exist in the COVID-19 recovery period, this agreement will help us to grow as demand returns and renew our fleet with more environmentally friendly, customer-pleasing aircraft.
Defending why United would buy planes when it is laying off staff, Nocella expressed hope in a third government bailout, but argued the new aircraft investment would lead to more employment in the longterm:
“And as the end of the pandemic nears and vaccines continue to roll out, today’s fleet announcement helps position us to meet the demand we expect to see in 2022 and 2023 and puts us on a path toward more opportunities for our employees in the future.”
United Airlines is accelerating its 737 MAX delivery scheduled (after delaying deliveries during the pandemic). It is also ordering 25 additional aircraft. Over time, the 737 MAX will become the workhorse of the United narrowbody fleet.
Thanks to H for sharing the images!