A Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, illustrated with United Airlines livery.

United Orders 110 Aircraft from Boeing, Airbus

Oct. 4, 2023
With bookings for 50 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 60 Airbus A321neos, the carrier has committed up to $20 billion for an expansion strategy, starting with deliveries in 2028.

United Airlines is committing billions of dollars to future fleet updates and expansion, with new orders for 50 Boeing 787 Dreamliner wide-body aircraft, and 60 new Airbus A321neo narrow-body jets. Neither the airline nor the aircraft builders has confirmed the value of the new orders, but based on available data for list prices of the aircraft, United’s total commitment for the 110 new jets would be worth as much as $20 billion, though large-volume orders typically incorporate discounts.

In a conference call, United Airlines chief commercial officer Andrew Nocella indicated the orders are intended to serve the carrier’s intention to grow its revenues on international routes, which are forecast to grow at a faster rate than domestic travel. "In the future, United will increasingly turn to global growth to expand," Nocella said.

In addition, United is preparing to increase the size of the aircraft it operates, apparently in an effort to resolve current problems with runway volume at domestic airports.

"I’m convinced our strategy is the right one as we continue to add new, larger aircraft to take full advantage of our growing flying opportunities both internationally and domestically,” stated United CEO Scott Kirby.

Another factor for United and other carriers is the increasing volume of backlogged orders for Boeing and Airbus, which has led to aircraft deliveries being scheduled further into the future. United does not expect deliveries from the new orders to begin until 2028.

From Boeing, United picked up options for 50 new 787-9 Dreamliners, and secured options for 50 additional Dreamliners. Late last year United ordered 100 Dreamliners, and with the new orders it stands to become the largest operator of Boeing 787s in the world.

As with the Boeing order, United is expanding an earlier order with Airbus for its A321neo aircraft, the largest version of the A320neo narrow-body series. With the new order, United has a total of 180 A321 aircraft on order.