OK, perhaps my headline is a tad over the top, but still…. The biggest news I’ve heard in a while is United’s announcement this week that they have ordered 50 new widebody aircraft. The order is evenly divided between the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787. As I understand it, the A350 is targeted to replace United’s fleet of larger 747s while the 787 will replace the smaller 767 fleet. Don’t pack your bags just yet as the first of these new aircraft aren’t set to arrive until 2016.
That said, I applaud United for taking a step towards remaining in the airline business by ordering new aircraft. I know the A350 and 787 serve different market segments, but I would have expected the airline to focus on one aircraft type with an eye towards reducing fleet complexity and costs. However, I suppose if you look at these 2 aircraft types replacing the 747s and 767s AND even the 777 down the road, United will be reducing from 3 fleets to 2. I still don’t think it’s ideal, but I wasn’t consulted on the purchase decision by United either. 🙂
We’ll see if these orders stick, or one of the fleet types gets cut as part of a potential merger transaction that United seems keen to execute…..someday.