Why United Airlines Picked The Boeing 787

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Boeing and United Airlines announced the largest widebody order by a U.S. carrier in commercial aviation history. A deal that consisted of 100 orders for the 787 series, with 100 options.

The finale to a long-standing sage on which direction the airline would head following months of debate. Questions surrounded whether it’d be all Boeing, mixed or for the Airbus A350. But, ultimately, it was all in the direction of the American aircraft manufacturer.

The Boeing 787 is globally used as a solution for airline networks. For United Airlines, it provides flexibility and reliability, among other vital qualities that make it an optimal choice for a host of missions across its expansive and global route network.

Each variant allows the airline to deploy units domestically while featuring others on their longest flights.

For United Airlines, a commitment to the 787 addresses their need to replace existing aircraft through to the next decade, with their Boeing 767s and Boeing 777s, some of the oldest widebody aircraft still flying, being phased out in favour of these new planes.

United Airlines will retire their Boeing 767s and older 777s – Nabil Molinari.

The economics of the 787 improve fuel burn whilst also bringing further benefits. In addition, the 787 is a product the airline knows, loves and trusts, from its operating economics to the passenger experience.

Inside, it features four onboard products and provides an elevated but consistent experience and one that customers genuinely love.

United’s Polaris

It isn’t a secret that significant aircraft deals also come with sizeable discounts. While never publicly disclosed, in some instances, almost half the value at list price can be wiped off, the amount dependent on several factors.

Offering the right deal is a contributing factor when carriers decide which way to head. In addition, delivery slots can play a part as airlines determine their retirement plans.

Relationships also can tend to impact carriers’ decisions. For United, their one with Boeing is strong and puts the American manufacturer in the optimal position for further contracts from the major U.S. airline.

Boeing and United Airlines also announced a further deal for the 737 MAX

Discussions surrounded Airbus’ potential to be a part of the deal, and ultimately United would head to Boeing. However, United was always considering proposals from Airbus.

United does have an order currently standing for the A350. However, it may be one of the most notable undelivered orders for aircraft industry-wide.

While announcing their historic Boeing deal, United Airlines further pushed the delivery back, with the first 45 A350s now expected to arrive in 2030, 3 years later than the previous revision of 2027.

This is an order that stems back to 2012. Unfortunately, according to many, it’s also an order that’ll never be delivered to the carrier, despite claims from the executive that they’ll reevaluate this order later.

United Airlines still has an order for 45 Airbus A350s

Fleet commonality can be another crucial reason why the U.S.-based airline further invested in the 787. It’s been clear that through United’s already extensive ownership and flying of the 787 series, it does what is required. In addition, the flexibility in this order to pick the variants they deem best is also another fantastic result for the airline. 

Daniel Fowkes
22 Dec 2022
· Analysis 

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