UPDATE: United has just made it official, announcing its order for 150 Boeing planes which are scheduled for delivery between 2013 and 2022.
EARLIER: According to numerous reports, Boeing is about to land a huge aircraft order from United Airlines – a deal for more than a hundred 737 planes that may be worth more than $9 billion.
Order for Single-Aisle 737s
The 737 – a narrow-body, single-aisle aircraft – is for short to medium-range flights, and can be configured to seat from roughly 100 to 200 passengers. Among the aircraft included in the new United order are Boeing’s 737 MAX planes which feature a near-ten-foot tall winglet that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says “increases the lift of the 737 without adding weight, making it more efficient” and presumably makes these planes cheaper to operate. UPDATE: United says 100 of its 150 new planes will be MAX aircraft.
Boeing: More Orders than Airbus
Even before the United order was announced at England’s prestigious Farnborough Airshow, Boeing has already garnered “more firm and committed orders than Airbus” – its big European rival – which handily beat the U.S. aircraft maker’s orders at last year’s show.
A Question of Outsourcing
Not everyone expressed delight over the United/Boeing deal; according to Capt. Jay Heppner, a veteran United pilot and union activist (he is chairman of the United’s Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association), “New planes are nice, but the fact that United is flying less of these U.S. planes due to its outsourcing policy is not.” Heppner is referring to United’s strategy – as well as that of other airlines – to increasingly rely on partnerships with regional carriers to fly routes under the United brand.
How Planes are Priced
Various sources use different figures on how much the United/Boeing deal is actually worth, and that’s because when it comes to pricing – planes are like cars – there is a list price and then there’s the price the buyer actually pays, which can be significantly lower than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.