United selects Dreamliner

First thing this morning United Airlines announced its selection for twin-aisle aircraft. Obviously it’s great news.

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We’ve posted this statement:

SEATTLE, Dec. 8, 2009 – Boeing [NYSE: BA] is delighted that United Airlines has selected the Boeing 787 Dreamliner for the replacement and expansion of its twin-aisle fleet.

“United’s selection of the Boeing 787 continues the 80-year partnership between our two companies,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The 787 is the first new airplane of the 21st century. Its advanced technology and unprecedented improvements in fuel efficiency will help United achieve its business objectives and enhance its leadership position among the world’s top airlines.”

Boeing looks forward to working with United to finalize the order at which time it will be posted to the Boeing Orders and Deliveries Web site.

Comments (10)

rebecca vanderbilt (Santa Clara, CA, USA):

Good and bad news.

Good: United selected 787.

Bad: United rejected 777. This is quite amazing given the fact that United was the launch customer on 777. The selection of A350-900 and A350-1000 means 777 will be gone from United in the future.

This also means Airbus will dominate the future fleet of United.

737 -> A320
767 -> 787
777 -> A350
747 -> A350

And I predict next year

757 -> A320

CHRIS GIBSON (AUSTRALIA):

It is hard to predict the future of this announcement. In the next few months the 787 will be flying and proving it’s capabilities, while the A350 is still in the planing stage and years from flying. I am sure that when Airbus finally can prove that the A350 is a genuine replacement to the 777 Boeing will improve or replace the model. Let’s wait and see!

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Nice work to Boeing. This is a replacement for the 767's and 747's. United didn't say anything about the 777. That's still in Boeing's reach.

Anyway, these 777's in the United fleet are 777-200/-200ER's. There isn't an airline in the US that uses the 777-300ER - or A340-600. I believe Brazil's TAM and Air Canada are the only firms to operate the 777-300ER in the Americas. Are the prospects for anything larger than the 777-200ER or 787-9 good in the Americas - much less 450-500 seaters?

Surprising change in direction for the airline nonetheless. They appeared to always be a strong possibility for the A380 - or least the media pushed it that way.

P-2-P over Hub-&-Spoke then.

Kevin (Los Angeles, CA):

Although I am a Boeing fan, what is significant is the very fact that United has placed such a large order: 50 aircraft split equally between 787 and A350. It remains to be seen if they won't ever need anything larger than A350.

P.Sumantri (France):

Hope United won't go bust by then.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

Congratulations to United ordering the 787 Dreamliner, this plane will open many new destinations and markets for United. Possible routes include:

Chicago to Europe

Chicago to the Middle East

Chicago to Hawaii

Washington to Europe

Washington to the Middle East

San Francisco to China, Japan, Vietnam

Many more markets.

Adolfo (HongKong):

United should have stayed with the B777. The B777 will be like the B737 in the future. Reincarnated and reincarnated. I bet it will be in production 50 years from now.

The A350? It still is a paper airplane. I believe Airbus is selling it at rock bottom prices just to keep European jobs.

Tom Pang (Hong Kong):

United Airlines clearly gives a signal to Boeing: If you do not develop a direct replacement towards Boeing 777, A350 will have more and more orders and there is no direct competition (Boeing 787 is much smaller than A350). Boeing's market towards 300-people long-range jetliner will be squeezed out.

Jerry (New York, New York):

This split order looks more like long term options than an actual purchase .

United is in very weak financial situation and is looking for a merger partner.

Who knows what shape United will be in by the time they can exercise these. And who knows whether the A 350 will be flying at that time!

Raymond (Seoul, Korea):

I happy for United Airlines with the 787 order, but I'm sad to see that their 747-400s will be phased out and not replaced with new 747s. United is becoming a leaner, meaner airline, but it's in danger of losing out as one of the more glamorous international airlines. The 747 sets a standard for prestige, excellence and experience that no other airplane can match. Airlines with jumbo jets appear sexier than those without them.

Lufthansa and Korean Air can make a case for the 747-8. And they're also buying even bigger planes. Why can't United?

I will miss the United 747s and the way they grace the skies of the Pacific.

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