United Airlines is reportedly looking to order a large quantity of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, bolstering and setting up its wide-body fleet for the long-term future.
The order is close to being finalized, according to two people close to the matter, reported Reuters. The report follows a similar update from The Wall Street Journal, which indicated that the two parties are close to reaching an agreement for dozens 787s, while previous reports also indicated that it could be a triple-digit number.
Currently, United Airlines has 66 Boeing 787 Dreamliners in its fleet, four of which are in storage, according to planespotters.net data.
Renewing an aging United Airlines fleet
If the order were to be finalized between the airline and the planemaker, it would allow United Airlines to plan a fleet renewal.
At the time of writing, the airline has 53 Boeing 767s, 96 Boeing 777s, and the aforementioned 787s. The average age of the fleet is 25.1, 19.3, and 5.5 years old, respectively, highlighting an aging fleet of wide-body aircraft that bear the United Airlines livery. During its Q3 2022 financial update, the carrier also indicated that “Boeing notified United that three Boeing 787 aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2022 and 15 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2023, all as shown in the table above, are now expected to deliver in 2023 and 2024, respectively.”
It also has 45 Airbus A350 aircraft on order, as the deal was finalized and announced in 2017. United Airlines’ order for the A350 dated back to 2010 when it first firmed an order for 25 of the aircraft. However, none were delivered and in 2017, Airbus announced that a “new agreement” with the airline took the airline’s backlog to 45 units. The manufacturer did not indicate when deliveries would begin. In December 2019, the carrier deferred its A350 order to at least 2027.