United Airlines is accelerating the retirement of its Boeing 747-400s with the entire fleet to be phased out by the end of 2018. To fill the void left by the Jumbo’s withdrawal, the US carrier has converted some of its outstanding orders for the 787-8 Dreamliner – due to join the airline from 2020 – into four 777-300ERs and five 787-9s with deliveries beginning in 2017.
“Retiring the 747 fleet and replacing those aircraft with more customer-pleasing, current-generation aircraft creates a more reliable and efficient fleet that provides a better overall experience for our customers travelling on long-haul flights,” Gerry Laderman, United’s Senior Vice President Finance and acting Chief Financial Officer.
United’s short-haul fleet continues to get a makeover too with the announcement of a purchase of a further 25 737-700s in addition to the previously declared order for 40. Delivery of these will start at the end of 2017 and enable United to reduce the size of its 50-seat regional fleet.
The airline currently has firm orders for 35 Airbus A350-1000s, 153 aircraft from the 737 family, plus ten 777-300ERs and 27 Dreamliners. It also has firm commitments for ten Embraer E175s, which will be flown by United Express partners.