United Airlines sets the bar for future aircraft orders (Update 2): ALPA complains
United Airlines' Air Line Pilots Association Master Executive Council has expressed concern the airline's order of 50 widebody jets announced yesterday is only for replacement lift, rather than expansion, added that it is cautiously optimistic about the order in terms of what it means to pilots. The airline ordered 25 787 Dreamliners and 25 A350s.
"Though we are pleased that United has finally placed an aircraft order, it is delayed gratification," said Captain Steve Wallach, chair of the United Master Executive Council. "For years, we have asked United to make a commitment to our airline's future. At long last, they have taken one step in the right direction. "It should be pointed out, however, that this wide body order is for replacement aircraft and not growth aircraft."
"United still needs to address its domestic, narrowbody fleet mix. Currently there is no United solution for recapturing previously lost domestic market share, revenue, or passengers," said Captain Wallach. "There still remains a significant gap in the 70 - 120 seat range. The pilots of United Airlines are dependent on those growth opportunities and remain willing to work with United to regain the airline's preeminence."
Interestingly, while pilots offered their back-handed complement, analysts overwhelmingly reacted positively to the announcement, especially because it showed the capacity discipline needed for the future will be maintained over the medium term and not just in the near term.
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