Yep. You heard it. Airline that hasn’t ordered anything new in 10 years just put up an order. 25 to Boeing, 25 to Airbus.
United Orders 1st New Planes In Decade; Boeing, Airbus Splits Order
By Frank James
United Airlines made Christmas somewhat cheerier for major airliner manufacturers Tuesday; the airline announced it’s ordering its first new airplanes in a decade.
And it’s spreading the wealth around, ordering 50 airplanes, half from U.S. maker Boeing, the balance from Airbus, Boeing’s European competitor.
NPR’s David Schaper reported the following for the network’s newscast:
Chicago-based United is taking advantage of a slow market for new jetliners and thus, low prices, as it orders 50 new planes for about $10 billion.
United is ordering 25 jetliners from it’s Chicago neighbor, Boeing, and 25 more from Europe’s Airbus, and in the process, the airline will be able to cut fuel costs and emissions.
Both widebodies, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A-350 are more fuel efficient than United’s current fleet. Airline officials say the new planes will slash fuel consumption, cost and emissions by a third over the 747’s and 767’s they will replace.
These are the first new jet orders for United since 1998. And this is one of the biggest new aircraft deals since the start of the recession. Officials at the nation’s third largest air carrier say the current economic environment provided a good opportunity.
Anyone hoping to ride one of the new jets is going to have to wait awhile. The first ones won’t come on line until 2016.
An excerpt from the airline’s press release:
United expects to take delivery of the aircraft between 2016 and 2019; at the same time it will retire its international Boeing 747s and 767s. These 50 new aircraft will reduce the average seat count by about 19 percent compared to the aircraft they will replace, and by about 10 percent when averaged over the entire international fleet. With the Airbus A350 powered by the Rolls Royce Trent XWB engine, and the Boeing 787 powered by either the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 or the GE GEnx, United estimates it will reduce its fuel costs and carbon emissions from the 50 aircraft by about 33 percent. Additionally, the company expects average lifetime maintenance costs for the new aircraft to be approximately 40 percent lower per available seat mile than the aircraft that will be retired.
The new aircraft will open up new revenue opportunities for United as the smaller size, longer range, and lower operating costs of these aircraft allow the company to profitably serve a broader range of international destinations. The A350 has a range 11 percent greater than the current B747, and the B787 has a range 32 percent greater than the current B767.
Both new aircraft offer significant improvements to the customer experience, including larger windows, more overhead bin space and improved lighting, among other features.
Interesting to note that while they are widebodies, how would the various seat configurations compare to their current configs on the B747. Are they going to drop seat capacity for frequency of the flights?