United to buy 25 more 737s from Boeing


New York (AFP)

United Airlines said Tuesday it would buy 25 more 737-700 aircraft from Boeing, in addition to an order for 40 of the narrow-body jetliners announced in January.

United, a unit of United Continental Holdings, announced the new order for the aircraft, which can carry 149 passengers, as it cuts its regional fleet of smaller aircraft.

"The new 737-700 aircraft are ideal for our fleet as we continue to reduce our reliance on 50-seat aircraft," said Gerry Laderman, United's acting chief financial officer, in a statement.

The order for the 25 737-700s is valued at $2.01 billion at list prices. United could pay less than that as aircraft manufacturers tend to offer customer discounts. Deliveries of the plane are expected to begin at the end of 2017.

United serves 342 destinations worldwide and operates nearly 5,000 flights per day.

United also announced Tuesday that it would retire its 747 fleet from scheduled service by the end of 2018. To meet capacity needs, United said it was converting 787 orders, initially anticipated for delivery beginning in 2020, to four 777-300ERs and five 787-9s, with deliveries to begin in 2017.

"Retiring the 747 fleet and replacing those aircraft with more customer-pleasing, current generation aircraft creates a more reliable and efficient fleet that provides a better overall experience for our customers traveling on long-haul flights," Laderman said.

United has also ordered 35 A350-100s from European firm Airbus and 10 E175s from Brazil's Embraer.

Shares in United Continental were down 2.6 percent at $56.38 in opening trade Tuesday, while Dow member Boeing lost 0.4 percent at $122.50.