United Airlines Looks To Airbus For Boeing 757 Replacement

United Airlines is looking to Airbus for a replacement option for its aging Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft. As a matter of fact, the carrier is reportedly considering the purchase of Airbus A321XLRs.

United Airlines Boeing 757
The average age of United Airlines’ Boeing 757-200s is 23 years. Photo: Wikimedia.

What are the details?

At present, United Airlines has 76 Boeing 757 aircraft and 54 Boeing 767 aircraft in its fleet. The carrier will replace most of these aircraft with Boeing 787s and Boeing 737 MAXs.

Based on data provided by Fleets Analyzer, United has already placed orders for the following aircraft:

  • 45 Boeing 737 MAX 9s,
  • 100 Boeing 737-10s,
  • 4 Boeing 777-300ERs,
  • 13 Boeing 787-9s,
  • 7 Boeing 787-10s, and
  • 45 Airbus A350-900s.
United Airlines Boeing 767
United Airlines currently has 54 Boeing 767s in its fleet. Photo: Wikimedia.

According to Flight Global, United Airlines’ President Scott Kirby told employees, during a town hall meeting at the end of last month, that the airline will need to purchase 30-40 mid-size aircraft to replace some of its 757s and 767s. United Airlines would like to take delivery of the aircraft starting in the mid-2020s.

More specifically, Scott Kirby said that United Airlines “feel[s] really good about the bulk of the narrowbody, the bulk of the widebody fleet. That 30 to 40 airplanes for 757, 767 replacements we don’t have a good answer for.”

The Airbus A321XLR

This is exactly where the Airbus A321XLR comes into play. The aircraft would be a great addition to United Airlines’ fleet.

The A321XLR is expected to carry about 250 passengers and have a range of 4,700 nm. It will basically be a longer-range version of the Airbus A321LR. Accordingly, United Airlines could operate the aircraft on routes between the East Coast of the United States and Europe.

Furthermore, the aircraft will be highly fuel efficient and feature the latest technology. All these are great selling points.

Airbus A321LR
The Airbus A321LR is a new variant of the Airbus A321neo. Photo: Airbus.

Airbus has not officially announced that it will build the A321XLR. Nonetheless, several airlines have already placed orders for the aircraft in case Airbus does indeed build it.

According to Reuters, Airbus would like to have “200-300 draft orders before committing to build” the aircraft. An order of 30-40 aircraft from United Airlines would definitely help boost the numbers and bring the Airbus A321XLR a step closer to reality.

Boeing’s new midsize airplane

United Airlines had originally indicated that it was interested in Boeing’s new midsize airplane as a potential replacement for its 757s and 767s. Boeing was expected to officially introduce the aircraft at this year’s Paris Air Show. However, the manufacturer has decided to delay the announcement regarding the aircraft to 2020.

Accordingly, at this time the Airbus A321XLR appears to be a more viable option than Boeing’s new midsize airplane.

Do you think that the Airbus A321XLR is a good replacement option for United Airlines’ Boeing 757s?