United Airlines’ first Airbus A321neo has completed its first test flight, with the aircraft being prepared for delivery to the airline.
The plane, temporarily registered as D-AXXH, departed Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport (XFW) at 10:07 am local time (UTC +2), arriving at Hamburg Airport (HAM) at 12:47 pm local time (UTC +2) on its first test flight.
Planespotters at XFW spotted the aircraft, sharing pictures of it departing the Airbus Final Assembly Line (FAL) located in the northern German city.
first @united #A321neo on its first flight today at Airbus Hamburg, will be N44501. United has a total order of 120 A321 aircraft of which 70 will be A321neo and 50 will be A321XLR. First flight is scheduled for Dec. 14th from Chicago (ORD) to Phoenix (PHX)…@AirbusPRESS pic.twitter.com/x5hG7jjpVw— Dirk Grothe | Aviation Photography (@digro65) September 21, 2023
United Airlines has already scheduled its first flight in December 2023, with the single-aisle aircraft set to depart Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and arrive at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) on flight UA321.
When the airline announced its Q2 2023 results, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing showed that it planned to take delivery of 12 Airbus A321neo in the last six months of the year, after June 30, 2023.
However, aircraft delivery delays have now resulted in airlines anticipating only four deliveries of the type in H2 2023. In 2024, United Airlines anticipates 29 A321neo deliveries, with the remaining 37 aircraft of the type arriving after 2024.
In addition to the A321neos, the airline’s SEC filing showed that it expects 50 Boeing 737 MAX deliveries, with Boeing having been contractually obliged to deliver 91 of them.
United Airlines has also dedicated $6.8 billion to “aircraft and related spare engines, aircraft improvements and non-aircraft capital commitments” during H2 2023, which did not account for “any adjustments communicated by Boeing and Airbus or estimated by United”.
In addition to the 70 A321neos, United Airlines also has commitments for 50 A321XLRs. Its SEC filing indicated that all of those deliveries will happen after 2024.
According to ch-aviation.com data, the airline has not operated any A320neo or A321ceo aircraft. However, it currently has 81 A319ceo and 97 A320ceo in its fleet, of which six and 14, respectively, are inactive, ch-aviation.com data showed.