Perhaps he should be looking at the B747-9i or the new B777-XXX
June 29, 2012
United Airlines President and CEO Jeffery Smisek is seeking aircraft larger than the Airbus A350-900 for the carrier’s future long-haul fleet, but is discounting the double-deck Airbus A380.
The European manufacturer’s A380 is “probably a little large for what we need”, but the A350-900 on the other hand “might be suboptimal for some of our routes,” Smisek told Aviation Week during a visit to Frankfurt.
United has ordered 25 A350-900s and 50 Boeing 787s, of which 14 will be the larger -9 version. United’s first 787-8 is to arrive in September and six will be delivered by year-end.
Among the aircraft that are under consideration for the higher capacity long-haul segment are the A350-1000, the Boeing 777X and the 747-8, Smisek said.
But the more near-term decision is the replacement of United’s 92-strong Boeing 757-200 fleet.
“We don’t have a sufficient narrowbody order,” Smisek admitted. The airline is evaluating the A320NEO and the Boeing 737 MAX, but Smisek would not comment on a possible order or if the airline would consider current model narrowbodies. “It all depends on timing,” he noted.
Airbus’s plans to build a final assembly line for the A320 in Mobile, Ala. will have no influence on United’s narrowbody decision, Smisek added.