United’s Least Used Aircraft: The Boeing 767-400ER

The B767-400ER is United Airlines’ least used aircraft this year after a handful of planes came out of long-term storage in time for the summer season, helped by the grounding of some B777-200s. In the least used aircraft table, the B767-400ER is followed by the B737 MAX 8, B787-8, CRJ-700, and B787-10.

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Looking fantastic is N68061, delivered initially to Continental in March 2003. Photo: Jules Meulemans via Flickr.

United’s B767-400ERs

Sixteen aircraft comprise United’s B767-400ER fleet with an average age of 20.2 years, ch-aviation.com indicates. All are ex-Continental, and all have 240 seats. There are 39 fully-flat seats in business class, with a forward-facing, 2-1-2 configuration. There are also 70 Economy Plus seats and 131 in regular economy (with a pleasant 2-3-2 layout).

After grounding the B767 variant in March 2020, they were used again some 14 months later in May 2021. Hub-to-hub Newark to Houston Intercontinental was the sole route in May, with just one aircraft in operation. It slowly and cautiously ramped up from there, with international service materializing later in the summer.

United's B767-400ERs in the air as this article is written on Nov. 5th
When writing, these United B767-400ERs are all in the air. All are going to/from Newark. Image: Radarbox.com.

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Ten out of 16 aircraft are active

While United has 16 B767-400ERs, only ten are currently active, ch-aviation.com indicates. And when writing, half of the operational aircraft are in the air:

  • N67052: Lisbon to Newark
  • N68061: Dublin to Newark
  • N69063: Newark to San Juan
  • N76064: Madrid to Newark
  • N76065: Barcelona to Newark
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This specific aircraft (N66057) is not currently used. It is stored at Roswell. Photo: Meisterflieger via Wikimedia.

The B767-400ER is United’s least used aircraft

Analysis of schedules provided by United to OAG indicates that the B767-400ER has just 547,680 seats this year across 2,282 flights – precious little. To put that into context, the type had just shy of 9,000 flights and almost 2.1 million seats in 2019. If 2019 had been examined instead, the twin-aisle variant would have been the sixth least-used.

In 2021, the B737 MAX 8 very closely follows in use, hardly surprising when it only began revenue service in July. The MAX 8 has almost double the seats for sale, with Newark and Houston the main hubs to see it.

United's B767-400ER network in 2021
This shows United’s B767-400ER network in 2021. Not all have operated yet. For example, Houston-Rio will resume from November 13th. Image: GCMap.

Honolulu to Newark is the #1 route

The B767-400ER isn’t used on many routes this year, with regular or semi-regular examples shown below. The long trip from Honolulu to Newark sees the aircraft more than any other route. A distance of 4,692 miles (7,986km), it is the USA’s third-longest domestic airport-pair, and it has a block time to Hawaii of 11 hours and five minutes.

  1. Honolulu-Newark
  2. Houston-Newark
  3. Newark-Lisbon
  4. Newark-Dublin
  5. Honolulu-Washington
  6. Newark-Barcelona
  7. Newark-Madrid
  8. Newark-San Juan
  9. Washington-Los Angeles
  10. Newark-Athens
  11. Newark-Munich
  12. Houston-Rio de Janeiro

As you can tell, the network is nicely split between international and domestic service, helped by the pandemic and a consequent redeployment of assets that resulted in a massive surge in domestic widebody use this summer. Indeed, while the domestic market accounted for just 14% of United’s B767-400ER capacity in 2019, it is now virtually half (49%).

Have you flown the aircraft with United? Share your experiences in the comments.

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