United Airlines places its largest aircraft order to bet on the return of premium travel

United Airlines ordered 270 jets, the largest order in the airline’s history, betting on the recovery of quality travel after the pandemic.

The Chicago-based company said on Tuesday that it is ordering 200 Boeing 737 Maxes and 70 Airbus A321neos and expects to create 25,000 jobs related to the order by 2026.

At the same time, United Airlines is reconfiguring its existing fleet with more first-class and premium economy seats, as well as improving the entertainment facilities and overhead storage space in the seats.

Combined with current orders, United Airlines will add more than 500 new narrow-body jets to its fleet between 2022 and 2024, as it has retired about 300 aircraft, most of which are regional jets.

In the next five years, the number of seats on United States domestic flights will increase by 30%, and the number of premium seats will increase by 75% compared to 2019 levels.

Worried about how the huge orders will affect the company’s financial situation, United’s stock price fell 2.6%. These aircraft are priced at more than $30 billion, but airlines usually pay only half of the list price.

“This will be clarified by the company… Evercore ISI analyst Duane Pfennigwerth said how new orders can change the trajectory of investment and also provide room for debt reduction. “What is the path to return to meaningful free cash flow, which will enable Can Manchester United repair the balance sheet? ”

Chief Executive Scott Kirby said that as we accelerate our business to meet the resurgence of air travel, fleet changes “will completely change the experience of flying on United Airlines.”

The airline’s long-term debt is approximately US$33 billion. Like its competitors, United Airlines raised funds from investors and the US government to survive the Covid-19 crisis, when travel restrictions and fear of the virus caused a sharp drop in passenger numbers.

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