United Won’t Retire Its Boeing 757s Any Time Soon – Here’s Why

There have been several reports of United Airlines looking to retire its Boeing 757 aircraft. Even though it is expected to be next the fleet member to retire, the carrier is not in any rush to wave a final goodbye to the jet.

United Airlines 757
United currently holds 72 Boeing 757 airliners within its fleet. Photo: Getty Images

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Simple Flying had the opportunity to discuss the future plans of United with Bob Schumacher, the firm’s managing director of UK and Ireland. During the conversation, he shared that the airline isn’t focusing on retiring any members within its fleet.

The director referred to United’s Q3 results for 2019, stating that over the next five years, there’s really no need to retire any of the widebodies currently flying. Altogether, this is not a priority for the operator.

New additions

Last month, United confirmed a sizeable order for the Airbus A321neo aircraft. The Chicago-based airline is expecting to receive 50 A321XLRs in a deal that would be worth $7.1bn at list prices.

Airbus hopes to bring 30% lower fuel burn per seat than previous-generation aircraft with the introduction of the A321XLR. Photo: Airbus

It is these units that could steer the direction of the fate of the 757s. The A321XLRs will start to arrive from 2024 and these deliveries will naturally guide the airline to replace some of the older 757s.

“So what we’ve seen of course with the A321XLR announcement in December, 50 of those coming into the fleet from 2024 is exactly that succession planning,” Schumacher told Simple Flying.

Once United gets to grips with the new planes, it will be able to better analyze its fleet and consider what further changes need to be made. However, by this point, we will already be halfway through the decade. Therefore, there is plenty of time for the 757 to continue serving United passengers.

“It will give us the opportunity to reassess. The range of that airplane is significant and certainly can take over the 757 has done. You can also look at new markets in near and central Europe.

“We may look at that but that will be for another day. The world will be in a different place in 2024, so I guess it will be looked at in that context, but a very exciting replacement.”

United Airlines Bob Schumacher
United’s Bob Schumacher is excited about the prospects that the A321XLR could bring for the airline. Photo: United Airlines

Fit for purpose

The A321XLR has a range of 4700 nautical miles, opening up a range of possibilities for United. The airline has been busy expanding on its services over the last year by reaching new business segments and doesn’t show any sign of stopping.

With United continuing to introduce new routes and increase its frequencies, it will be reluctant to let go of any aircraft that will help it fulfill these operations. Therefore, it will make sure to say goodbye to older models in its fleet only when the time is right.

What are your thoughts on the plans for United Airlines’ Boeing 757 aircraft? Let us know what you think in the comment section.