United orders A350 and Boeing 787s
United Airlines today announced a significant investment in the company’s future with a widebody aircraft order that will enable the carrier to reduce operating costs and better match aircraft to key markets it serves. United ordered 25 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft and 25 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft and has future purchase rights for 50 of each aircraft.
The aircraft order follows a rigorous, six-month request for proposal process, which resulted in agreements with both manufacturers, enabling the company to meet its financial and operational objectives and respond to changes in future market conditions. The breadth in size and capabilities of the different aircraft models ensure the company has the right aircraft for the right market throughout the fleet replacement cycle.
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.
United last took delivery of aircraft in 2002, and last ordered aircraft in 1998.