United Major Order Book with No Major Retirements


United Airlines has taken a different stance than its network competitors. The airline has not announced significant fleet retirement and continues to maintain a strong order book. With more than 800 aircraft in its fleet, United Airlines, once smaller than Delta, now beats the airline by more than 40 jets.

United Airlines has 11 Boeing 787s on order and has not announced the retirement of any major fleet. Photo: Getty Image

United Airlines Order Book

United Airlines has more than 270 aircraft divided into the following:

United Airlines has 19 contractual deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2020, including three Boeing 787 and 16 737 MAX aircraft. While the Max aircraft remains grounded, once the grounding is lifted, if it happens this year, many expect it, Boeing could deliver some jets to the aircraft.

United 737 Max Getty
United Airlines is awaiting delivery of the Boeing 737 Max. Photo: Getty Image

The airline has 15 firm Embraer E175 orders with 11 in the last three months of 2020. These aircraft are not for the United States; Rather, Jet will go out to a regional carrier to have a contract with United.

However, this is not the case on all United orders. The carrier also has agreements to purchase 20 used Airbus A319s with delivery dates through 2022, and 11 used Boeing 737-700s with delivery dates currently expected through 2021 .

No big fleet retirement

According to figures from Planespotters.net, United Airlines has 805 aircraft in its fleet, of which about 325 are currently stored. The oldest of these aircraft are the Boeing 757, 767, and 777-200s.

Initially, American Airlines announced plans to retire all Boeing 757s and 767s. Delta Air Lines announced plans to withdraw all of its Boeing 777s by the end of this month and the remaining 767-300ERs by 2025.

United 767
United Airlines plans to fly 767 on a new route from Maui to Newark. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Jfkjets.com

Meanwhile, United Airlines is investing in its 767s, overtaking them with a new Polaris business class of carriers. While 787 retrofits have continued, 767 have stayed. It is not clear whether United plans to withdraw these aircraft. The 767 is selected in an incredibly premium configuration, which may not be an ideal configuration in the current environment.

757 and 767 would be ideal candidates for retirement; However, United Airlines is yet to determine the final plan for these aircraft. While they will be candidates for retirement, United will have to wait to see what happens to the world before retiring any of these jets. While United can replace the 757s with the A321XLR, there are no clear replacements for the 767s right now, and United plans to use them for a new route.

What is United’s strategy?

United Airlines has left its network behind where it should be, but the airline has also sought new opportunities to start flights. The carrier is expanding its small and medium-haul Latin American network and its long-running operations to India, Africa and Hawaii.

Get joint plane
United Airlines plans to take 11 used 737s. Photo: Getty Image

Right now, launching new routes is not necessarily a bad idea. United Airlines has to get revenue where it can, and a steep jet does not make money. Therefore, instead of operating what the airline already flew, it makes sense to try new routes that might work well in the current environment.

As for his fleet, well, United’s team is more optimistic and hopeful that, following a vaccine, United will be on the way to a stronger recovery, and that it will require an expanded fleet.

For now, at least, United have stopped retiring a staggering number of aircraft with plans rather than increasing their fleet.

Do you think United will retire any aircraft as a result of the crisis? Tell us in the comments!