MIAMI – United Airlines (UA) announced a massive order of 270 aircraft from both Airbus and Boeing, the largest for the airline as of yet. The announcement also marks the largest single airline order in the last decade.

The first order is comprised of 200 Boeing aircraft – 50 of the 737 MAX 8 aircraft and 150 of the longer 737 MAX 10. This was followed by another order of 70 A321neo with European manufacture Airbus.

“It is a lot more than a fleet order. It is about retiring many of our single class 50 seat regional jets. It is about some growth too,” said Andrew Nocella, the airline’s chief commercial officer.

The total value of the order would be around $33 billion. This is the largest order in UA’s history, and executing a plan like this proves a positive post-pandemic recovery. Boeing shares shot up 0.9% post announcement, although United’s were down by 0.2%.

Both the Airbus A321neo model and the Boeing 737 MAX that are on order are larger than their earlier version providing nearly a 30% increase in seat capacity per departure, with an aim to grow the number of United FirstSM and Economy Plus® seats by 2026. New York (EWR), San Francisco (SFO), and other high-density airports, would significantly benefit from this capacity increase which would be impossible otherwise.

These new aircraft are also more fuel-efficient and produce less noise.

United Next Program

As part of the “United Next” program, which is aimed at directing the company post-pandemic, Nearly 200 of the incoming new planes will be used for fleet growth and the remaining 300 will serve to replace UA’s aging fleet, like the Boeing 757 series which would be retired.

All new aircraft will feature an enhanced in-flight entertainment screen, a strategic shift towards offering a better product to its customers, the airline aims to update the cabins on its current narrow-body jets so that all mainline flights will have this option by 2025

I’ve always been a fan of seatbacks,” Kirby said. “I’ve walked through airplanes that have seatback entertainment, and I will count,” he continued, “over 60% of the people are engaged with the screens.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that this is something our customers value, something that will make our customers pick United more and more.”

A 13-inch high-definition screen in every first class seat and a 10-inch HD screens in every Economy seat onboard 737 MAX – which will contain over 2,800 selections in Movies, TV shows

Delta (DL) has aggressively added seatback screens to its planes over the past few years. American Airlines (AA) has retreated from seatback screens on its narrow-body planes, featuring free in-flight entertainment that passengers can stream through their devices.

“The 737 MAX and A321neo will have the industry’s fastest available in-flight Wi-Fi and will also secure a spot for everybody’s onboard bag. It will be great for operations,” Nocella said of the faster boarding times that should result.

A new Boeing 737 MAX 8 in United colors. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways

Job Creation

The massive order brings in nearly 25,000 potential jobs to the market.

  • Newark / EWR:                   up to 5,000 jobs
  • San Francisco / SFO:         up to 4,000 jobs
  • Washington, D.C. / IAD:     up to 3,000 jobs
  • Chicago / ORD:                  up to 3,000 jobs
  • Houston / IAH:                    up to 3,000 jobs
  • Denver / DEN:                    up to 3,000 jobs
  • Los Angeles / LAX:             up to 1,400 jobs

Featured image: A new Boeing 737 MAX 8 in United colors. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways. Article Sources: Boeing, United Airlines.