United gives big boost to Boeing
In an order anticipated for months, the world’s largest airline, United, Thursday purchased 150 Boeing 737s.
Of those, 100 are for Boeing’s new 737 Max 9, the largest version of the upcoming generation of the popular 737.
United is the U.S. launch customer for the 737 Max 9.
The United order also includes 50 of Boeing’s 737-900ER aircraft. United will use those aircraft to replace its aging Boeing 757-200 planes.
The United order formally raises the order book for all versions of the 737 to 10,039. The 737 is the best-selling jetliner in history.
At list prices, which few airlines pay, the order is worth $14.7 billion. Studies have shown that in large orders such as United’s, airlines pay as little as 50 percent of the list price for aircraft.
The 737 order brings United back into the Boeing single-aisle fold.
United once bought earlier versions of the 737, but switched to the Airbus A320 as its bread-and-butter aircraft. When Continental and United merged, Continental brought newer 737s with it to the combined airline, as well as executives who favored Boeing products.
The United order, announced in Chicago, topped a week at England’s Farnborough Air Show where Boeing dominated the order books with nearly 200 commitments for the 737 from leasing companies.
Boeing said it now has more than 1,200 orders and commitments for the 737 Max family of aircraft. It hasn’t announced all of the orders and commitments, however.
The 737 Max is an upgraded version of the present 737 Next Generation with improved engines and aerodynamic tweaks that Boeing said will increase fuel efficiency by 13 percent.
All 737s are built in Boeing’s Renton plant. The 737 in United’s configuration will seat about 180 passengers.
The first of the 737 Max 9s will be delivered to United in 2018.