United Airlines announced Tuesday that it is ordering 200 Boeing Max jets and 70 Airbus planes to replace some of its aging planes and grow after the pandemic has subsided.
At list prices, the deal would be worth more than $ 30 billion, although airlines routinely receive huge discounts, sometimes more than half, according to analysts. United declined to disclose the terms.
It’s one of the biggest commercial aircraft orders ever, and it underscores that airlines are seeing a recovery underway and expect to return to the profitability they had before the pandemic more than a year ago.
It’s also of course a big boost for the world’s two largest aircraft manufacturers, Boeing in particular. The Chicago-based company saw a drop in orders after Max jets hit the ground after two fatal crashes. The pandemic has also hurt sales.
Boeing “needs to catch up a bit,” and so it likely gave United a steep discount, said George Dimitroff, an analyst at Ascend by Cirium.
“From here on the prices will be more stable,” said Dimitrov. “I think United are probably taking advantage of the last good price.”
United claims the orders will create 25,000 jobs over several years, though executives haven’t described how they got that number. The airline now has around 68,000 employees.
United said it has ordered 50 Max-8 jets, 150 slightly larger Max-10 jets, and 70 Airbus A321neo, which are even larger and typically accommodate 220 passengers in economy and premium classes.
The larger Airbus planes will be particularly valuable in San Francisco and Newark, New Jersey, where limited runways prevent United from adding many more flights, said Andrew Nocella, United’s chief commercial officer.
About 300 of the planes will replace jets United plans to retire by 2026, including most of its Boeing 757s, while 200 will be used for growth, Nocella said.
Although the aircraft in the new order are all narrow single-aisle jets for domestic flights, United also has pending orders for so-called wide-body aircraft that will be used on international routes, and Nocella forecast 2022 will be a record year for the US -Europe will be going to travel.
U.S. air traffic has slowly recovered since April 2020 when it dropped below 100,000 people a day – a flight level from the 1950s. The Transportation Security Administration screened nearly 2.2 million people on Sunday, the highest number in 15 months, but still 18 percent below the comparable Sunday in June 2019.