United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UAL) and its wholly owned subsidiary, United Air Lines, Inc., today announced an order to purchase 150 narrowbody Boeing 737 aircraft. Under the new agreement, United will purchase 100 Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft and 50 Boeing 737-900ER aircraft for delivery between 2013 and 2022. These new aircraft will allow United to replace older, less-efficient aircraft to reduce fuel and operating costs, enhance the customer experience and maximize network opportunities. In addition, United is the North American launch customer for the 737 MAX 9, continuing its long tradition of launching new programs such as the 767, 777 and 787.
“This order is a major step in building the world’s leading airline, and we look forward to offering our customers the modern features and reliability of new Boeing airplanes, while also making our fleet more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly,” said Jeff Smisek, United’s President and CEO. “New aircraft deliveries support our flexible fleet plan, permitting us to tailor future capacity up or down, based on changes in demand or other market conditions.”
“These new aircraft, combined with our new widebody aircraft already on order and our existing fuel-efficient aircraft, will solidify United’s future fleet as one of the most efficient and environmentally responsible fleets among our global competitors,” said Smisek.
United will begin taking delivery of 100 Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft in 2018. Boeing’s newest family of airplanes will deliver a significant improvement in fuel efficiency in the single-aisle aircraft market. The 737 MAX 9 will be powered by the new CFM International LEAP-1B engine. The 737 MAX 9 is expected to achieve fuel burn and CO2 emission reductions of up to 13 percent compared to current 737 aircraft. United’s 737 MAX fleet will feature the customer-pleasing Boeing Sky Interior, which creates a greater sense of space in the cabin and features an energy-efficient LED lighting system with different lighting and color schemes, a quieter cabin with improved ventilation, and larger overhead bins that accommodate additional carry-on bags.
United also plans to purchase 50 additional Boeing 737-900ER aircraft with deliveries beginning in late 2013. These next-generation models will be used primarily to replace older, less-efficient Boeing 757-200 aircraft that are flown domestically and are expected to burn up to 15 percent less fuel per seat than the aircraft they replace. CFM56-7B engines will power the aircraft. United was the North American launch customer for the 737-900ER when its predecessor placed its first order in 2006 and currently operates a fleet of 43 737-900ER aircraft.
The new 737-900ER will also feature the Boeing Sky Interior, which has been included on United’s 737-900ER aircraft since United became the first U.S. airline to operate 737-900ER aircraft with the new interior in 2011.
This order solidifies United’s well-balanced order book with 272 new aircraft deliveries anticipated through 2022, including 50 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 25 Airbus A350XWBs. United will be the first North American carrier to take delivery of the 787 Dreamliner, a revolutionary airplane that will provide customers a superior travel experience while reducing fuel and operating costs by up to 20 percent, with the first delivery scheduled in late September.