(29 June 2021)
United Airlines today ordered 270
new Airbus and Boeing aircraft, the largest combined order in the
airline’s history and the biggest by an individual carrier in the
When combined with the current order book, United
expects to introduce more than 500 new, narrow-body aircraft: 40
in 2022, 138 in 2023 and as many as 350 in 2024 and beyond.
means in 2023 alone, United’s fleet will, on average, add about
one new narrow-body aircraft every three days.
United’s new aircraft order – 50 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, 150
Boeing 737 MAX 10s and 70 Airbus A321neos – will come with a new signature
interior that includes seat-back entertainment in every seat,
larger overhead bins for every passenger’s carry-on bag and the fastest
available in-flight WiFi, as well as a bright
look-and-feel with LED lighting.
The airline expects to fly the
first 737 MAX 8 with the signature interior this summer and to
begin flying the 737 MAX 10 and the Airbus A321neo in early 2023.
What’s more, United intends to upgrade 100% of its
mainline, narrow-body fleet to these standards by 2025.
This order will also significantly boost United’s
total number of mainline daily departures and available seats
across the airline’s North American network, as well as the number
of premium seats, both United First and Economy Plus.
Specifically, United expects it will have on average 53 premium
seats per North American departure by 2026, an increase of about
75% over 2019, and more than any competitor in North America.
“Our United Next vision will revolutionize the
experience of flying United as we accelerate our business to meet
a resurgence in air travel,” said United CEO, Scott Kirby. “By
adding and upgrading this many aircraft so quickly with our new
signature interiors, we’ll combine friendly, helpful service with
the best experience in the sky, all across our premier global
network. At the same time, this move underscores the critical role
United plays in fueling the broader U.S. economy – we expect the
addition of these new aircraft will have a significant economic
impact on the communities we serve in terms of job creation,
traveler spending and commerce.”
Adding the new 737 MAX and Airbus A321neo
aircraft means United will replace older, smaller mainline jets
and at least 200 single-class regional jets with larger aircraft,
which the airline expects will lead to significant sustainability
benefits compared to older planes: an expected 11% overall
improvement in fuel efficiency and an expected 17-20% lower carbon
emission per seat compared to older planes.
United’s 737 MAX 8 has 16 United First seats and
54 Economy Plus seats.
The 737 MAX 10, the largest member of the MAX family,
makes up the majority of United’s new order and will be configured
United First seats and 64 Economy Plus seats.
A321neo aircraft are expected to have a United First and Economy
Plus seat count similar to that of the 737 MAX 10.
“We’ll deliver a better, more consistent
experience, with more features for more customers, faster than
ever. While some airlines are reducing the number of economy seats
with extra leg room, United will offer the most premium seats in
North America, taking a different, more customer-friendly
approach,” said Andrew Nocella, United’s EVP and Chief Commercial
Officer. “This is United playing to our strengths – the location
of our U.S. hubs means we’re uniquely positioned to focus on
premium products, business travel and global flying like no other
U.S. airline. Our new, signature interior creates a more
consistent product across our mainline fleet – with a focus on the
amenities that customers value most like seat back screens, fast
WiFi and extra storage – to further set ourselves apart.”
Each new 737 MAX and A321neo will have the
industry’s fastest available in-flight WiFi that lets customers
stream video from online services.
The aircraft also will have
Bluetooth technology throughout for easy connections between
wireless headphones and the seatback entertainment screens.
By 2026, United expects its use of aircraft in
this new order alone will lower the airline’s total carbon
emissions per seat up to 15%.
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