We are now getting our first look at United’s 2016 fleet plan. Some of the highlights include United taking delivery of older ex-China Southern A319 aircraft as well as new 737-900ERs, Dreamliners, and its first 777-300ER.
A319: United operates 55 A319s in its fleet, and in 2016 the airline plans to take delivery of 9 of the 14 ex China Southern aircraft leased from AerCap, with the option of adding 11 more used A319s in the coming years. Meanwhile, United will continue to install its new first class seats on its Airbus fleet, and it expects all of its A319 aircraft to have the new seats by the first half of 2017. So far, only 1 A319 has the new seats. All of the A319s are equipped with the new Slimline economy seats as well as WiFi. All first class and Economy Plus seats will be equipped with power as United installs its new first class seats on the planes.
A320: United has 97 Airbus A320 aircraft in its fleet. The only changes to A320 fleet is the installation of its new first class seats which United expects all Airbus aircraft to have by the first half of 2017. A few A320s already have the new seats. All of the A320s are equipped with the new Slimline economy seats as well as WiFi. All first class and Economy Plus seats will be equipped with power as United installs its new first class seats on the planes.
737-700: There are 40 Boeing 737-700 aircraft in United’s fleet. In 2015, the airline added 2 -700s to its fleet from Copa Airlines and two other ex-Copa -700s from a lessor. United is in the middle of installing Satellite Ka U.S. Wi-Fi on its fleet as well as Split-Scimitar winglets. Additionally, United will be moving 3 of its Guam based -700s (3720, 3734, and 3735) back to USA operations while moving 4 U.S. based -700s (3712, 3723, 3726, and 3727) to Guam. Lastly, the carrier will begin installing Slimline seats on the type this year. Most of the -700s have in-seat power in first class as well as Economy, and other than the newly acquired -700s, they all have Direct TV. Also, all U.S. based -700s have WiFi with the others due to have it installed soon.
737-800: United has 130 737-800s in its fleet. 10 are currently based in Guam, but two of the 10 are slated to return to the domestic/U.S. side next year. United is in the middle of installing its -800s with the new slimline economy seats, and hopefully, it should have them on all of its -800s by the end of 2016. Additionally, United will continue to install Split-Scimitar winglets on all of its -800 aircraft, and it has finished equipping all -800s other than the Guam based planes with WiFi this year (with the Guam based planes to receive WiFi next year).
737-900/900ER: United has 12 -900s and 128 -900ERs in its fleet. In January and February, United will take delivery of the two final -900ERs it has on order. Meanwhile, United will continue outfitting its -900s and -900ERs with the new slimline seats as well as Split-Scimitar winglets. All of the -900/-900ERs are equipped with WiFi, and all 128 -900ERs are equipped with power at the seats while the 12 -900s just have power in first class and Economy Plus.
747-400: United has 22 Boeing 747-400s in its fleet. One is reportedly scheduled to leave the fleet in January, and two are set to leave the fleet in Summer 2016. Two more are scheduled to exit in 2017 as well as two more in 2018. Minus the fleet exits, no other changes to the 747 fleet are expected.
757-200: There are 74 757-200s in United’s fleet as of now. The remaining 4 domestic-configured legacy United 757-200s (24/50/108) will be retired by April 2016 at a rate of one per month. Other than the retirements, there are no other changes to the 757-200 fleet. Other than the four that are due to leave the fleet soon, all 757s are equipped with WiFi as well as in-seat 110V power.
757-300: There are 21 757-300s in United’s fleet. United should finish the installation of power ports in First and Economy Plus sometime next year and WiFi in the first half of 2016.
767-300ER: There are 35 767-300ERs in United’s fleet. The 21 three-cabin 767-300ERs were slated to be retired soon, but United announced that it will keep them and reconfigure them into its two-class configuration. At the moment, it is not known when the conversion process will begin.
767-400ER: There are 16 767-400ERs in the fleet, and there are no planned changes to them in 2016. All aircraft are now equipped with WiFi.
777-200/200ER: There are 74 777s in United’s fleet. Nine are used on flights to/from Hawaii, and they will be reconfigured for domestic operations, together with 10 more of the type. These aircraft are intended for domestic widebody flights, starting in February 2016. Once the nine planes that are used for Hawaii flights are reconfigured, all 777s will have WiFi.
777-300ER: United has 10 777-300ERs on order, and the airline expects to receive its first in late 2016. There will be 60 BusinessFirst, 110 Economy Plus, and 196 Economy seats.
787-9: United currently has 13 787-9 Dreamliners in service, and it will take delivery of the remaining five -9s it has on orders. 3 of the 5 will arrive in the first quarter with the other two expected to arrive in June.
Other Fleet News: United expects to begin taking delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX 9, 787-10, and A350-1000 in 2018. Additionally, it appears that all of United’s mainline aircraft should have WiFi on-board once the remaining 787s, 737-700s, and 737-800s have it installed.
United Express Fleet Update: United will continue to install WiFi on its CRJ-700s and E-175s; so far, a few dozen already boast WiFi. Additionally, United will retire all of Republic’s Q-400 flying by the end of 2016, and CommutAir will begin picking up some ERJ-145 flying next year.
Contributor’s Note: We do apologize that when this story first ran that we incorrectly reported that United plans to acquire 25 used A319s; they have signed a deal with a lessor for 14 and options for 11 more. Additionally, two of the 737-700s are from Copa while the other two new planes were ex-Copa planes that United acquired from a lessor. Finally, we failed to mention that the nine Hawaiian 777s will also be reconfigured into a special domestic 777 configuration.
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