A United Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft lands at San Francisco International Airport.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
United Airlines is buying 25 additional Boeing 737 Max aircraft and is taking other orders ahead of schedule, the airline said on Monday.
“As we plan for the future and the return of demand, we have looked for ways to best position our fleet for recreation and to be able to best capitalize on people’s desire to travel,” said Andrew Nocella. Chief Commercial by United Officer said in a note to staff.
In addition to the 25 Boeing 737 Max aircraft slated for delivery in 2023, the Chicago-based airline has increased deliveries of 40 more Max aircraft by 2022 and five more by 2023. In total, United has firm commitments on 188 Max aircraft, according to a securities filing filed on Monday.
The vote of confidence in the aircraft comes just months after the Federal Aviation Administration lifted the ban on the aircraft after two fatal crashes. United, which had 14 Boeing Max 9 jets in its fleet at the time of landing in March 2019, received the planes again in December from Boeing, the first airline to do so. Commercial flights were launched with these aircraft last month.
United lost more than $ 7 billion last year as it, like other airlines, struggled with the Covid-19 pandemic. The demand for travel is likely to remain weak in the first half of the year. United said in the filing that it expects its capacity to decrease by at least 51% in the first quarter from the same quarter of 2019.
But the airline is now preparing for a recovery as vaccine distribution increases.
“And as the end of the pandemic draws nearer and vaccines continue to expand, today’s fleet announcement will help us meet expected demand in 2022 and 2023 and enable us to offer our employees more opportunities in the future . ” “wrote Nocella.
Boeing and United stocks rose nearly 4% each in morning trading during a broad market rally.