United Airlines replaces an earlier order for 35 Airbus A350-1000s by 45 Airbus A350-900 planes, which is valued at $14 billion before customary discounts.
According to Bloomberg, Earlier this year, United had indefinitely deferred the first four aircraft as it re-evaluated fleet plans. Deliveries of the new order of Airbus A350-900 won’t begin until 2022, when United’s oldest Boeing 777 jets will start to reach retirement age.
The deal is a possible replacement for Boeing’s top-selling 777 aircraft and it will hurt Boeing as it has not got any North American customers for the 777X, an upgraded model due to debut at decade’s end.
“The A350-900 is an outstanding aircraft with the size and range to be an excellent replacement for our 777-200ERs,” United Chief Financial Officer Andrew Levy said in a note to employees Wednesday.
“So, if we decide to make this the sole replacement for the 777 fleet, we will be able to do so on similar, very attractive, economic terms,” Levy said of the Airbus plane.
United’s decision signals the tough competition that Airbus poses to Boeing in its wide-body stronghold. The 777 has long been the Boeing’s second-largest source of profit behind the single-aisle 737, dominating sales until Airbus responded with the next-generation A350.
According to Airbus, The 100th A350 was delivered at the end of July 2017, just some 30 months after the first delivery of the world’s most modern widebody aircraft in December 2014. To date*, Airbus has recorded a total of 848 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 45 customers worldwide.