United Airlines and Boeing may announce a new deal ordering dozens of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, according to reports by The Wall Street Journal and Reuters. The order could be announced as soon as this month, and it is expected to be significant, in a major boost to the US manufacturer.
New Dreamliners for United
Earlier this year, it was reported that United Airlines was in talks with Boeing and Airbus, eyeing an order of at least 100 widebodies. The airline was looking into the Dreamliner and Airbus’ widebody flagship, the A350. Now it seems like Boeing has won the race, and both companies could announce the new order throughout December.
United would employ these new widebodies to replace its aging jets. The airline’s widebody fleet includes 53 Boeing 767s, including several -300ER and -400ER variants, with an average age of 25 years old. United also operates 96 Boeing 777s, with the -200ER and -300ER variants of around 18 years of age. United also had 64 Dreamliners at the end of September and expects to close the year with a fleet of 68 Boeing 787s.
While it is not clear how many aircraft United Airlines would order, it is expected that the announcement could involve a mix of confirmed orders and options for future purchases. The Wall Street Journal reported that as many as 50 aircraft could be options.
The 787 is back on the production line
If United does announce the Boeing 787 Dreamliner order, it would be the most significant order of the program since Boeing resumed its deliveries earlier this year. On August 8, after nearly two years, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) declared Boeing ready to begin delivering 787s again after a painfully long process in which the US manufacturer couldn’t stop finding issues in its widebodies. From gaps between sections of the fuselage to glue and fasteners, there were headaches everywhere amid stricter scrutiny by the FAA.
This year, Boeing has obtained four orders for 38 Dreamliners. The customers are AerCap with five, China Airlines with 16, Lufthansa with seven, and unidentified customers with ten.
United’s growing fleet
United Airlines is a growing airline. In June 2021, the US carrier placed a massive order for 270 narrowbody planes produced by Airbus and Boeing. The company signed with Boeing to acquire 200 B737 MAX aircraft and with Airbus for 70 A321neo.
As of October 31, 2022, United Airlines had an unfilled order for 348 new planes with Boeing, according to Boeing’s website. The carrier still had to receive 347 Boeing 737 MAXs and one Dreamliner 10.
The unfilled order with Airbus is also sizeable. As of October 2022, the airline was expecting to take delivery of 165 new Airbus aircraft, including 120 Airbus A321neo (including 50 of the XLR subvariant) and 45 Airbus A350-900s.
According to data by ch-aviation, United Airlines’ fleet is currently composed of 865 aircraft, including 651 narrowbodies and 214 widebodies.