United Airlines has approached both Airbus and Boeing to discuss a replacement plan for its widebody fleet of 747s, 767s and 777s, and is talking with both company’s about a possible successor for its 757 transcontinental aircraft.
Although there were few concrete details in the report, it is understood the order would be for as many as 150 aircraft. That number is roughly 40% of the fleet United expects to operate at the end of 2009. Reports suggest United’s acquisition could total $10 billion.
“This work clearly presents a strategic opportunity for both United and the manufacturers, as this program will define our fleet strategy for the next 25 years,” noted United President and CEO Glenn Tilton. “Our timing is opportune, as this is a competitive environment for manufacturers, and, if the economics are compelling, the winner will place its new generation aircraft with one of the largest operators of twin-aisle aircraft in the world.”
“An aircraft order that meets the requirements we have outlined will provide the opportunity to further improve our cost structure and better our operational performance while reducing our environmental impact and creating an improved onboard experience for our people and our customers. Next-generation aircraft also provide the capability to serve new destinations and further strengthen our network,” Tilton said.
“Clearly, new aircraft provide us the opportunity to tailor and customize the customer experience, building off of the work we have done to reconfigure our international fleet.”