United Airlines Secures New A321neo Aircraft

Daniel Fowkes
17 Apr 2024
· Aircraft 
· Airlines 
United Airlines has announced plans to acquire up to 35 A321neo aircraft on long-term leases as cover for ongoing Boeing 737 MAX delays.

United Airlines has responded to the ongoing 737 MAX difficulties by securing a new commitment to aircraft.

In its latest financial results, the carrier confirmed it would acquire up to 35 new Airbus A321neos between 2026 and 2027.

These aircraft will come with CFM engines and are expected to be delivered from two unnamed lessors following the letter of intent signings.

A 737 MAX Response

The commitment to additional Airbus A321neos is a response to the difficulties United experienced in acquiring 737 MAX jets.

Boeing has been unable to deliver aircraft on time for an extended period, and as delays continue, more airlines are feeling the effects. United Airlines is one of the companies that has been impacted more.

Additionally, while Boeing has struggled to deliver MAX jets on time, it is battling certification delays with the largest member of the series, the 737-10.

United Airlines is slated to be a key customer of the 737-10. However, a couple of months ago, it announced that the aircraft was no longer part of its plans as delays were mounting and it became apparent Boeing would be unable to stick to a firm timeline.

As a response, the carrier said it would look towards adding Airbus A321neo jets to its backlog to cover for the lost capacity. However, it would still announce additional plans to slow growth as the airline didn’t believe it’d have the required assets to meet the substantial demand increases.

Looking Ahead

The Airbus A321neo is one of the newer additions to the United network, and its commitment to the series will now grow with long-term leases.

There had been concerns about the possibility of acquiring more Airbus A321neos due to the sold-out nature of the line. However, United said it communicated with Airbus, lessors, and more to try to work something out.

Capacity plans for the second and third quarters aren’t expected to be massively affected. The airline sees fewer aircraft previously expected to enter service in Q2 of 2024 pushed back to Q3.

However, despite order adjustments and new aircraft inbound, the airline is cautious about increasing the growth rate in the years to come.

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