United Airline’s first of its new Airbus A321XLR fleet is likely to enter into service in 2024. With an order of 50 of the new Airbus A321XLRs, the airline will retire its existing Boeing 757 Fleet. The airline’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Andrew Nocella said, the new A321 not only adds to strengthening United’s ability to fly more efficiently but also gives rise to potential new destinations, allowing the airline to further develop its network.
The airline is already in the process of retiring its 757 fleets. According to the airline’s October 2019 investor update, the airline has already retired 3 of its Boeing 757s since the beginning of this year. Currently, the airline operates with only 73 of this aircraft type.
The new Airbus A321XLR has a range of 4700nm, giving a 15 percent hike over the 4000nm range of the Airbus A321LR. The new aircraft has been designed to maximize commonality with the rest of the A321 clan. The manufacturer has only made changes that are necessary for enhancing the aircraft range, achieving 30% lower fuel burn per seat than the previous generation aircraft. Among the few changes in the new permanent Rear Centre Tank or RCT which will allow the aircraft to carry more fuel. The new RCT can hold more fuel than several optional Additional Centre Tanks. This will take up less space in the cargo hold thus freeing up the underfloor volume for additional cargo on longer routes. In addition to the RCT, the aircraft is built with modified landing gear to improve the maximum take-off weight of 101 metric tonnes. The new Airbus aircraft meets the same take-off performance and engine thrust requirements of the current A321neo, this is achieved through the optimized wing trailing-edge flap configuration. The A321XLR’s new Airspace cabin will provide the best travel experience for travelers, offering seats in all classes with the same comfort as on long-haul wide-body aircraft.
United’s chief financial officer Gerry Laderman said “Over the next five years, there is really no need to retire any of the widebodies we’re currently flying and that’s not our focus right now on the next fleet to retire. To be honest, the next fleet to retire, we’ll start looking at the remaining 757s that will start coming out.” Moving into next year the airline’s order books include 65 new aircraft deliveries. 28 among these 65 are the grounded Boeing 737Max aircraft.