United Airlines today (29 June) announced the purchase of 270 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft, which is the largest combined order in the airline’s history and the biggest by an individual carrier in the last decade.
The ‘United Next’ plan will is expected to increase the total number of available seats per domestic departure by almost 30 per cent and create tens of thousands of “quality, unionized jobs by 2026, all efforts that will have a positive, ripple effect across the broader U.S. economy,” according to a statement by the airline.
United expect to introduce more than 500 new, narrow-body aircraft: 40 in 2022, 138 in 2023 and as many as 350 in 2024 and beyond.
That 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 – 50 737 MAX 8s, 150 737 MAX 10s and 70 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 industry’s 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.
A Major Upgrade
United plans to upgrade all of its remaining 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 FirstSM 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 revolutionise 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 fuelling 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.”