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United Inks LOI For 35 A321neos, Converts 110 737 MAX Orders

The airline is shaking up its fleet strategy amid ongoing Boeing delivery woes.

A United A321neo at Airbus’ Toulouse facility (Photo: Airbus)

United has taken significant steps to adjust its fleet plan in light of ongoing challenges with aircraft deliveries and certification delays at Boeing. The Chicago-based carrier recently signed letters of intent (LOI) to lease 35 new Airbus A321neos, which are scheduled to begin flying in 2026 and 2027. United says these aircraft will be equipped with CFM engines and acquired from two unnamed lessors.

This move comes as part of United’s efforts to maintain a consistent delivery schedule of about 100 narrowbody jets annually from 2025 through 2027. The decision to lease the A321neos is a response to delays in the certification of Boeing’s 737 MAX 10 aircraft, which have pushed the delivery timeline for these jets into 2025 or later.

Additionally, United has opted to convert a portion of its Boeing 737 MAX 10 orders to the smaller and already certified MAX 9 variant. The airline currently holds firm commitments for 167 MAX 10s and 144 MAX 9s. Previously, United had 277 commitments for 737 MAX 10 aircraft, per a February 2024 SEC filing.

“This delivery schedule provides fleet renewal, steady growth and addresses the bow wave of aircraft delivery delays that had been building,” United CFO Mike Leskinen said during the company’s first-quarter earnings call on Wednesday.

The company has also faced other challenges in recent months, including a grounding of Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft earlier in the year due to safety concerns. This grounding resulted in approximately $200 million in lower revenue for the carrier.

Ryan Ewing
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  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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