United Airlines Is Close To Signing Lease Agreements For Airbus A321neos

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Summary

  • United Airlines is close to finalizing a deal for more than 30 Airbus A321neo aircraft as a replacement for the delayed Boeing 737 MAX 10.
  • The A321s would be scheduled for delivery between 2025 and 2027, according to a report.
  • Boeing is facing challenges with repeated delays and issues with its 737 MAX, forcing United Airlines to consider replacing some MAX 10s with A321s.

There’s only so long that airlines can wait to accommodate production delays for aircraft they plan to invest their future in. And it seems that United Airlines has decided to take its business elsewhere, with a report suggesting that it is close to finalizing a deal for more than 30 Airbus A321 aircraft as a replacement for the Boeing 737 MAX 10.

In the market for A321neos

According to a report by Bloomberg, United Airlines is nearing a deal with aircraft lessors to acquire around three dozen Airbus A321neo planes as a replacement for the Boeing 737 MAX 10, which currently awaits certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

United A321neo

Photo: Robin Guess | Shutterstock

Sources have revealed that the discussions are in the final stages, and a deal could be closed soon. If and when an agreement is finalized, the A321s would be scheduled for delivery between 2025 and 2027. Earlier this year, there were also reports that Airbus was willing to accommodate slots for the A321s to attract a bid from United.

Replacement for the delayed 737 MAX 10

This would be a significant blow to Boeing, seeing one of its largest customers go to its rival to convert some of its MAX 10 orders to the A321s. But if one has been following the latest developments, United’s move will not come as a surprise.

United had ordered 277 MAX 10s and was supposed to be its launch customer. However, with repeated delays in the type’s certification and Boeing’s ongoing issues with the MAX aircraft in general, the carrier recently removed the MAX 10 from its delivery outlook.

Approved 737-10 In Flight2

Photo: Boeing

Then came another blow when the airline officially asked Boeing to stop building the MAX 10 for its fleet until there’s more clarity on its future regarding certification from the authorities. With no set date on when the MAX 10 would receive a green signal from the FAA, Untied’s CEO Scott Kirby recently said they could explore replacing some of the MAX 10 with A321s.

However, given the popularity of the A321s, with many other airlines also in the queue for the jet, United realizes that it would have to negotiate for a reasonable price. Kirby did mention that he is not in favor of overpaying for the aircraft and that a deal would only go through if it is viable financially.

Related


Major Blow: United Airlines Tells Boeing To Stop Building MAX 10s And To Switch To MAX 9s

The latest announcement came after United had announced it was not expecting any deliveries of the type in coming years.

Long road ahead for Boeing

It has not been a good year for Boeing so far. After the Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 blowout incident and reports of other planes also being found with loose bolts, the plane maker has been under scrutiny from all corners.

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 departing PHX

Photo: Robin Guess | Shutterstock

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) also recently said it could suspend its approval of Boeing’s aircraft production if necessary. However, it was quick to point out that such a move is not imminent, with no immediate threat to Boeing’s production certificate.

But just the fact that when the acting Executive Director of EASA, Luc Tytgat, was asked recently if the agency would be prepared to stop recognizing US approvals, and he said, “If need be, yes,” suggests that Boeing is staring at a long road ahead to regain trust.

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  • N14106 United Airlines (Her Art Here-California Livery) Boeing 757-224 (1)
    United Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    UA/UAL

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub(s):
    Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Denver International Airport, Guam International Airport, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport

    Year Founded:
    1931

    Alliance:
    Star Alliance

    CEO:
    Scott Kirby

    Country:
    United States



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