United will reportedly purchase an additional 200 single-aisle jets, split across US and European rival planemakers Boeing and Airbus, according to industry sources.
While the news has not been confirmed, this multibillion-dollar investment is said to include over 100 Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets, and dozens of Airbus A321neo aircraft. The sources, who spoke to Bloomberg this week, have asked to remain anonymous.
It comes after United posted a US$7.1 billion loss in its full-year 2020 results, and a US$1.9 billion loss in the fourth quarter alone, as a result of the COVID crisis.
Previous to this, the last time the airline posted a loss was in 2005, due to bankruptcy-related costs, to the tune of US$21 billion.
When asked to comment on the rumour, a United spokesperson said the airline would “not comment on speculative aircraft orders”, while both Airbus and Boeing responded in a similar fashion.
United has made it clear that it wishes to upgrade its fleet as air travel demand slowly recuperates.
Last week, United made headlines, when it announced a multibillion-dollar deal with Boom for 15 Supersonic jets, launching in the air by 2029.
The penned deal will see United Airlines welcome 15 Boom ‘Overture’ passenger aircraft, once certified and operational, with an option to take on an additional 35 of the supersonic aircraft.
Boom said that it and United would work together to ensure Overture’s final form meets United’s “demanding safety, operating and sustainability requirements”.
Meanwhile, World of Aviation reported earlier this week, that airlines continue to throw support behind the 737 MAX, despite its recent lengthy recertification process and electrical faults.
Included in May’s figures were 61 orders for the 737 MAX, made across three different customers. Despite a five-week halt in 737 MAX deliveries due to electrical manufacturing faults, the MAX remains a popular purchase for airlines.
United announced a new 737 MAX deal in March, ordering 25 of the jets to replace its ageing ones.
The Airbus A321neo, part of the A320 family is the 737’s largest competitor.
Last month, Airbus saw no orders for the A321neo, while in April, the European planemaker saw 37 of the type ordered, but all were ultimately cancelled.