July 3. With its order earlier this week of 270 single-aisle, mainline aircraft for delivery by 2026, United plans to increase its premium product offerings for domestic travel.
By the time its fleet renewal is complete, United will have grown its total inventory of domestic first class and Economy Plus seats by 75% compared with 2019 levels. The carrier is betting that the addition of so many more premium seats will give United a leg up with business travelers.
Still, with business travel still deeply addled by the Covid-19 pandemic, so much expansion comes with risk.
But airline industry analyst Bob Mann of R.W. Mann & Co. said that United can find demand not only from market recovery but by stealing from competitors. “I think they are targeting Delta in the premium space,” Mann said.
United’s largest-ever aircraft order includes 150 Boeing 737 Max 10s, 50 of the smaller 737 Max 8s and 70 Airbus A321neos, with deliveries set for between 2023 and 2026. Those orders, combined with the order book United had prior to the expansion announcement, means the carrier is expecting to take delivery of nearly 500 narrowbodies by 2026.
Source: Travel Weekly