United’s 737 add-on order underscores fleet changes

United Airlines said Tuesday that it will buy 25 Boeing 737-700s.
United Airlines said Tuesday that it will buy 25 Boeing 737-700s. Courtesy illustration

United Airlines announced a number of changes to its aircraft fleet, including an order for more 737s and the retirement of its 747s.

United Airlines said Tuesday that it will purchase 25 new 737-700s from Boeing, which is in addition to a previously announced order for 40 of the same aircraft. At Boeing’s 2015 list prices, the value of the 25-airplane order would be more than $2 billion, although orders this large are typically discounted.

In addition, United said it would convert orders for 787s to be delivered beginning in 2020 to four 777-300ERs and five 787-9s.

United also will retire its 22 747s from scheduled service in 2019.

“Retiring the 747 fleet and replacing those aircraft with more customer-pleasing, current generation aircraft creates a more reliable and efficient fleet,” Gerry Laderman, United’s senior vice president of finance, said in a news release.

The additional 737-700s serve to replace some of United’s smaller regional jets, Laderman said.

“The new 737-700 aircraft are ideal for our fleet as we continue to reduce our reliance on 50-seat aircraft,” he said.

United said deliveries of the new jets are expected to begin at the end of 2017.

Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita manufactures 70 percent of the narrowbody airliner. United operates daily nonstop flights from Wichita to Chicago, Denver and Houston.

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark