July 13, 2012- On Thursday, the parent company of United Airlines placed an order to purchase 150 planes from Boeing. The 737s will refresh the airlines’ fleet of short-haul aircraft. Included in the order are 100 of the 737 Max fuel-efficient planes that Boeing is developing, with the first set of deliveries due for sometime in 2018. In addition, 50 737-900ER’s were ordered that United will use to replace its aging 757s for domestic routes.
United is the largest airline in the world by traffic and had previously announced orders to refresh a great deal of its long haul aircraft with the new 787s by Boeing and the A350s of Airbus. However, it must convince its pilots to finalize its commuter operations going forward.
The CEO of United Continental Holdings, Jeff Smisek said the airline has other options for the new 737s and chose them over the Airbus A320s. Continental, which Smisek operated before its merger with Continental, had an exclusivity deal in place with Boeing, though the new enlarged airline has over 150 Airbus aircraft and another 25 on order.
Starting in 2013, United will use the 737-900ERs to replace the older 757-200 aircraft. For trans-Atlantic flights, the airline uses 757s, though the new planes by Boeing do not have the flight range to fly across the Atlantic if fully loaded with passengers.
The airline has not been able to reach a deal with its pilots due in part because of disagreements over the amount flying the airline should outsource to SkyWest and the type of planes used by its partners.