United starts discussions with Airbus for more A321neos

Gepubliceerd op 7 februari 2024 om 17:59

© Elise van de Putte

Reuters is reporting that United Airlines has started discussions with Airbus about a potential order for more A321neos. The airline is doing this as it's very unhappy with the grounding of the MAX9 and all the production, delivery and certification delays of the MAX.

Earlier in January, the CEO of United Airlines called the partial grounding of the MAX9 "the straw that broke the camels back" after also facing uncertainties due to the delay in certification of the MAX10. As a result of all this, the airline has removed the MAX10 from all its internal fleet planning until further notice, leaving the airline scrambling to secure additional capacity to support its growth plans. United has a total of 277 MAX10s on order, which it had planned to incorporate into the fleet from 2024 until 2032.

According to the news agency, Airbus is willing to work with United and is talking with other A321neo-customers to see if they're willing to reshuffle orders in order to free up short term production slots. It also reports that Airbus wants to include a firm delivery timeline for the 45 A350-900s the airline has on order into a potential deal.

United Airlines originally ordered 25 A350-900s in 2010. In 2013, it changed the order into 35 A350-1000s, and four years later it converted it into 45 A350-900s. During all the changes, the airline also deferred deliveries, which are now pushbacked as far as 2030. At the same time, Airbus saw United ordering more B787s, lastly in October 2023 when it ordered 50 more B787-9s. However, things appear to be moving within United as the airline's CFO also said in January 2024, that the airline was looking to take delivery of its first A350 as of 2030 to replace older B777s.

United has placed large orders over the last years in order to renew and expand its fleet. With Airbus it has open orders for 176 A321neos, 45 A350-900s. At Boeing, the airline has open orders for 354 MAXs (all versions) and 150 B787-9s.

© Valentin Römer

© Elise van de Putte

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