United orders 50 long-haul aircraft

8 Dec 2009 by Mark Caswell

United Airlines has placed firm orders for 25 Boeing Dreamliners and a further 25 Airbus A350XWB aircraft, due for delivery between 2016 and 2019.

It’s the first time United has ordered new aircraft in over a decade (1998), with its last delivery of aircraft being in 2002. In addition to the firm orders the carrier has future purchase rights for 50 of each aircraft type.

United says that it expects to take delivery of the new aircraft between 2016 and 2019, during which time it will retire its Boeing 747s and 767s.

The new planes will reduce average seat count by around 19 per cent (compared with the aircraft they will replace), and by about ten per cent across the entire long-haul fleet.

The carrier says that the longer range of the new aircraft will “allow the company to profitably serve a broader range of international destinations”, and will result in reduced carbon emissions by about 33 per cent across the 50 aircraft.

As of the end of September 2009, Airbus had received 493 orders for its A350XWB aircraft from 31 customers. Boeing meanwhile had received 840 orders for its Boeing 787 aircraft (-300, -800 and -900 models) up to November this year. In a statement on November 30 Boeing said that the first flight of the much-delayed Dreamliner is planned for this month, pending successful test results.

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Report by Mark Caswell

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