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737 Max

United Adds 25 Firm Orders for 737 MAX Airframes

United Adds 25 Firm Orders for 737 MAX Airframes
Joe Cortez

United Airlines will follow other carriers in adding orders for the ungrounded Boeing 737 MAX. The Chicago-based carrier will add 25 firm orders to their total, giving them a total fleet of 180 airframes.

Gambling on a sharp increase in travel demand as more people get vaccinated against the novel Coronavirus, United Airlines wants to add more Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to their fleet. The New York Times reports the Chicago-based carrier increased their firm orders by 25, bringing total orders to 180.

United Calls 737 MAX “The Right Aircraft at the Right Time”

At their 2020 year-end financial report, United told investors 2021 would be a transitional year towards profitability. Instead of looking for gains this year, the airline is planning to become profitable by 2023, at the earliest.

However, the carrier is also looking at immediate demand as well. As the COVID-19 vaccines are widely distributed across the United States and around the world, United is anticipating a sharp surge in travel demand. To meet the increase expected starting in the second half of 2021, the airline is ordering more Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

“These new aircraft are going to allow us to be more competitive,” Andrew Nocella, chief commercial officer at United, told the Times. “It’s the right aircraft at the right time…this is going to allow us to get back on track as we come out of the pandemic.”

United plans to use the next-generation 737 on domestic routes, including from the U.S. west coast and Hawaii. Flyers can expect to see the airframe to operate out of United’s domestic hubs, including Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Denver International Airport (DEN) and Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). The carrier is attracted to the troubled airframe for its fuel efficiency, allowing them to reduce their carbon footprint and meet their goal to cut net greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050.

The airline plans to accept 24 737 MAX deliveries by the end of the year, bringing their total fleet count to 54 by 2022. The remaining orders will be handed over to United by the end of 2023.

Orders Come as Flyers Seemingly Move On From 737 MAX Accidents

United’s new 737 MAX orders come after fewer flyers say they directly recall the two fatal accidents involving the troubled aircraft. According to the Reuters/Ipsos poll, around 40 percent said they were “familiar” with the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. In January 2021,  the U.S. Department of Justice announced a deferred prosecution agreement with Boeing over allegations they attempted to defraud the government, assessing the aerospace giant a total penalty of over $2 billion.

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1 Comment

  1. UncleDude

    March 3, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    Maybe they could go the Whole Hog and ask for Pratt ask Whitney Engines

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