United Airlines announced (08-Dec-2009) firm orders for 25 A350 XWBs and 25 B787s, as well as 50 future purchase rights for each aircraft type. The A350 XWBs will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, including a long-term service agreement for the engines. United expects to take delivery of the new aircraft between 2016 and 2019. At the same time it will retire the B747s and B767s used on international routes. The new aircraft will reduce the average seat count by about 19% compared to the aircraft they will replace, and by about 10% when averaged over the entire international fleet. United estimates it will reduce its fuel costs and carbon emissions from the 50 aircraft by about 33%. Additionally, the company expects average lifetime maintenance costs for the new aircraft to be approximately 40% lower per ASM. United last took delivery of aircraft in 2002, and last ordered aircraft in 1998. [more - United Airlines] [more - Boeing] [more - Rolls-Royce]
United Airlines: "We obviously thought the current environment was an opportunity for us. We resisted the pressure during the up cycle to buy during the 'while supplies last' market environment and had the patience to wait until we saw this opportunity. We feel very rewarded by that," John Tague, President. Source: Reuters, 08-Dec-2009.