United Airlines orders 50 Airbus aircraft to replace Boeing 757s
NEW YORK, Dec 4: United Airlines said Tuesday it had ordered 50 Airbus A321XLR aircraft, worth an estimated $6.5 billion, to replace an existing fleet of aging Boeings.
The new Airbus planes, to be delivered starting 2024, will allow United to retire its Boeing 757-200s, the company said.
The Airbus order is the latest blow to the American manufacturer, already deeply mired in the crisis surrounding its 737 MAX, which has been grounded worldwide after two crashes that resulted in 346 deaths.
Boeing has no new aircraft to compete with the Airbus A321XLR in the mid-market range.
Airbus launched the A321XLR only this year, at the Paris Air Show in June.
The single-aisle aircraft's range is 15 per cent above that of its predecessor, the A321LR, making it a cost-effective alternative to long-haul wide-body planes.
It's larger fuel tanks allow it to cover up to 5,400 miles (8,700 kilometers) in nine hours -- significantly more than the Boeing 737 MAX.
United said it intends to use the new aircraft to serve additional European destinations from US East Coast hubs in Newark/New York and Washington.
The airline turned to Airbus for the purchase because Boeing does not have an aircraft in the mid-market range, a source close to the matter told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"There are no aircraft currently offered by Boeing that can replace the 757," the source said, adding that negotiations between Airbus and United began several months ago.
Boeing, which is currently focused on returning its MAX aircraft to the sky, has already postponed until next year the possible announcement of a new model aircraft (NMA) intended to replace the 757 and 767. -AFP