United Signs Firm Order for 25 A350 XWB aircraft

 - March 10, 2010, 9:04 AM

United Airlines has signed a firm order for 25 Airbus A350-900 XWBs, formalizing a commitment originally announced last December, the European manufacturer announced today. Plans call for deliveries of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-powered jets to begin in 2016 and run through 2019.

United also plans to take delivery of 25 Boeing 787s during the same time frame, as it retires its fleet of aging Boeing 747s and 767s. Boeing announced on February 25 that United finalized that order, valued at $4.2 billion at list prices.

United originally revealed its intention to place both orders on December 8, when it also announced plans to 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.”

With completion of the United order, Airbus’s order book for the A350XWB now stands at 530 aircraft. It expects to assemble the first A350-900 next year, and deliver the first production example in 2013.