Chicago - United Airlines said that it would consider Airbus's upcoming ultra-long-range single-aisle A321XLR as an option to replace its aging Boeing 757 and 767s.
The Chicago-based carrier has been reviewing replacement options for its mid-haul fleet for a while. Last year, the airline announced that it was interested in the Boeing's New Midsize Airplane (NMA) program alongside another U.S operator Delta Air Lines also operating a large Boeing 757 and 767 fleet.
The new aircraft program of Boeing for the mid-market was assumed to be officially announced later this year, presumably during the Paris Air Show. But the company delayed the decision until next year.
In the aftermath of the to crashes of the two Boeing 737 MAX 8 at short intervals, the manufacturer already delayed the roll-out of its new widebody, the long-awaited 777X.
At a guess, Boeing could do the same for the announcement of its new aircraft program unofficially dubbed Boeing 797. Before that, Boeing needs to fix its seriously damaged reputation in the industry.
Although United's chief financial officer Gerry Laderman told last year that their 767 and 757 replacement strategy would be a multi-faceted solution, the Airbus A321XLR could be a more logical choice for the company under current circumstances.
United plans to replace all aircraft in its 757 and 767 fleets in the next decade from 2020. Even if Boeing decides to launch the program next year, it won't be ready before 2025.
On the other hand, Airbus already started to record orders for the A321XLR. Because the manufacturer's new jetliner will be based on an existing model, the A321neo. It's an obvious advantage for Airbus against the Boeing's NMA.
The Chicago-based carrier estimates 30 to 40 aircraft to replace both 757s and Boeing 767s in the fleet.