United Airlines orders 100 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, 100 more with option

United Airlines said on Tuesday it plans to purchase 100 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, with the option to purchase another 100.

The airline said the order for up to 200 aircraft was “the largest wide-body order by a US airline in the history of commercial aviation.”

United CEO Scott Kirby said in a statement that the airline emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic as “the world’s leading global airline”.

“This order further solidifies our leadership and creates new opportunities for our customers, employees and shareholders by accelerating our plan to connect more people to more places around the world and deliver the best experience in the sky,” he said.

The order for the 787 aircraft comes a few months after the Federal Aviation Administration announced in August that Boeing could resume deliveries of the Dreamliner. Boeing was forced to halt delivery of the 787 in May 2021 after manufacturing quality issues and structural problems were discovered. The FAA first raised 787 concerns in September 2020, when the agency said it was investigating manufacturing defects.

Boeing shares rose nearly 2% in premarket trading on Tuesday, while United shares fell nearly 1%.

The airline also said it has exercised an option to purchase 44 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for delivery before 2026 and an additional 56 MAX aircraft for delivery before 2028.

FILE PHOTO: A journalist checks the view from an observatory before the delivery ceremony of the new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner at Boeing South Carolina on March 25, 2018, in North Charleston, South Carolina.

Randall Hill/Reuters

United said it plans to take delivery of a total of about 700 new narrow and wide-body aircraft by the end of 2032, “with an average of more than two per week in 2023 and more than three per week in 2024.”

The 100 wide-body aircraft announced Tuesday are expected to be delivered between 2024 and 2032, according to the airline. The aircraft will replace most of United’s fleet of 767 aircraft and 777 aircraft. United said it plans to retire all 767 aircraft by 2030.

The airline said removing aging aircraft from service would give United an eco-friendly boost and carbon emissions per seat are expected to drop by around 25%.

FILE PHOTO: A Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner taxi passing the Boeing Final Assembly Building in North Charleston, South Carolina on March 31, 2017.

FILE PHOTO: A Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner taxi passing the Boeing Final Assembly Building in North Charleston, South Carolina on March 31, 2017.

Randall Hill/Reuters

“This order provides our customers with a best-in-class experience while solving our current wide body replacement needs in a more fuel-efficient and cost-effective way,” said Gerry Laderman, United’s EVP and CFO.

United said in October it expects its fourth-quarter-adjusted margin to rise above the same 2019 quarter for the first time since the outbreak began.

“While the earnings from the pandemic didn’t keep pace with precedent, the messaging was very confident,” analysts at Morgan Stanley said in a note to customers ahead of the Tuesday morning announcement.

According to daily checkpoint data from the Transportation Security Administration, the number of passengers passing through US airports has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels.

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