UAL finalizes Boeing 787 order

 - February 25, 2010, 9:09 AM

United Airlines has finalized a firm order for 25 Boeing 787-8 jetliners, the Chicago-based carrier announced today. Valued at $4.2 billion at list prices, the deal includes so-called purchase rights for another 50 Dreamliners.

United said it plans to take delivery of the 787s at the same time it begins to retire its Boeing 747s and 767s, between 2016 and 2019.

United originally revealed its intention to place the order on December 8, when it announced plans to also take 25 Airbus A350XWBs and place purchase rights for 50 of each airplane type. The announcement followed what United called a rigorous, six-month request for proposal process, resulting in the decision to place two separate orders. According to United, “The breadth in size and capabilities of the different aircraft models ensure the company has the right aircraft for the right market throughout the fleet replacement cycle.”

The 50 new aircraft will reduce the average seat count by about 19 percent compared to the aircraft they will replace, and by about 10 percent across the entire international fleet. United estimates that the new airplanes will affect total fuel-burn savings by about 33 percent and maintenance cost savings by about 40 percent per available seat mile. Total cash outflow for both orders combined will total $60 million over the next three years, according to United, and deferral rights secured by the airline give it further financial flexibility.

With the completion of the United deal, Boeing has now collected firm orders for 876 Dreamliners from 57 customers.