United Airlines Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:UAL) has announced the addition of 200 Boeing 737 MAX and 70 Airbus A321neo to its fleet, as well as plans to modernize all of its narrow-body aircraft. “This is the largest order in the history of the airline and the largest made by a single airline in a decade,” said a company spokesperson.
After the announcement, Boeing (NYSE:BA) shares jolted up 0.9% in premarket trading, while United’s dipped about 0.2%.
United’s 270-plane order is the largest in its history
By placing the record-setting order, United plans to replace 200 regional single-class aircraft to improve on the sustainability of its operations. The company foresees an overall improvement in fuel efficiency of 11% as well as a 17-20% carbon emissions reduction per seat, compared to older aircraft.
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United’s Boeing order includes 150 of the large Max 10 model, while the remaining 50 correspond to the Max 8 –plus the 70 single-aisle A321neo units by Airbus Group (BME:AIR).
According to the airline’s order book, United will have introduced more than 500 new narrow-body aircraft in 3 years: 40 in 2022, 138 in 2023, and up to 350 in 2024. This means that in 2023 alone, United’s fleet will add, on average, one new narrow-body aircraft every three days.
Besides, according to the president of United ALPA (Airline Pilots Association) Todd Insler, the move represents excellent news for United’s current 12,000 pilots, “and the 10,000 more we hope to hire before the end of the decade.”
Bouncing back from the pandemic
The “United Next” plan is set to pave a significant transformation of customer experience, as well as increase the total number of available seats by almost 30%. To support the operation of its new aircraft, United also revealed the hiring of 25,000 employees –on top of the current 68,000– including pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics.
To do so, United’s new aircraft will display a unique interior that includes backrest entertainment on every seat, larger overhead compartments for each passenger’s carry-on, fast onboard Wi-Fi, as well as bright LED lighting.
“Our vision for United Next will revolutionize the experience of flying with United as we accelerate our business to meet a resurgence in air travel,” said United CEO Scott Kirby.