United Airlines orders 50 Airbus aircraft to replace Boeing 757s

The new Airbus planes, which will be delivered in 2024, will allow United to retire its Boeing 757-200s, the US airline said. (AFP)
Updated 04 December 2019

United Airlines orders 50 Airbus aircraft to replace Boeing 757s

  • The new Airbus planes, which will be delivered in 2024, will allow United to retire its Boeing 757-200s
  • The Airbus order is the latest blow to the American manufacturer

NEW YORK: United Airlines said Tuesday it had ordered 50 Airbus A321XLR aircraft, worth an estimated $6.5 billion, to replace an existing fleet of aging Boeings.
The new Airbus planes, which will be delivered in 2024, will allow United to retire its Boeing 757-200s, the company said.
The Airbus order is the latest blow to the American manufacturer, already deeply mired in the crisis surrounding its 737 MAX.
Boeing, whose 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide after two crashes that resulted in 346 deaths, currently has no new aircraft to compete with the Airbus A321XLR in the mid-market range.
Airbus launched the A321XLR only this year, at the Paris Air Show in June.
The single-aisle aircraft’s range is 15 percent above that of its predecessor model, the A321LR, making it a cost-effective alternative to long-haul wide-body planes.
United said it intends to use the new aircraft to serve additional European destinations from US East Coast hubs in Newark/New York and Washington.
United turned to Airbus for the purchase due to Boeing’s lack of aircraft in the mid-market range, a source close to the matter told AFP on condition of anonymity.
“There are no aircraft currently offered by Boeing that can replace the 757,” the source said, adding that negotiations between Airbus and United began several months ago.
Boeing, which is currently focused on returning its MAX aircraft to the sky, has already postponed possible announcement of a new model aircraft until next year.
The manufacturer recently presented the design to various airlines, industrial sources said.
Airbus decided to no longer publish the catalog prices for its aircraft beginning in 2019. However, the A321XLR is a long-range version of the A321, whose unit value was $129.5 million in 2018.
United has meanwhile postponed receipt of its first 45 Airbus A350 long-haul aircraft by five years.
The company, which ordered the planes in 2017, said it now plans to have them delivered in 2027 instead of 2022.


Saudi business chiefs back 2020 budget

Updated 11 December 2019

Saudi business chiefs back 2020 budget

  • 2020 spending plan hailed as a positive driver in boosting country’s economy

RIYADH: Saudi businesses have welcomed spending plans of SR1.02 trillion ($272 billion) next year, announced by King Salman.

The Council of Saudi Chambers praised the efforts of the monarch, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and others in reaching an agreement on the 2020 budget.

The government has predicted revenues of SR833 billion and a deficit of SR187 billion for next year, considered an indicator of the success of the Kingdom’s economic policies amid a bleak global economic backdrop.

Chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers Dr. Sami Abdullah Al-Abaidi said that the Saudi business sector was optimistic about the new spending plans.

“These figures reflect the effective impact of the economic reform measures, the economy’s restructuring and diversification of sources of income,” he added.

Al-Abaidi praised the king and the crown prince for supporting the Saudi economy through numerous projects and initiatives aimed at boosting the business sector.

He said the most notable were business performance improvement initiatives, privatization, private-sector stimulation and local promotion programs.

“This has paved the way for the Kingdom to get the best international classifications, including its first world ranking in business environment reforms, which made it a hub for investments,” Al-Abaidi added.

The business chief reiterated King Salman’s determination to continue implementing reforms, diversifying sources of income, making optimal use of resources, empowering the private sector, and improving transparency and efficiency in government spending to boost growth rates.

“These trends are one of the most important requirements for achieving the Kingdom’s Vision 2030,” he said.

The council’s vice chairman, Muneer bin Saad, said the budget for the new year focused on investing in the human element and sectors that directly affected the lives of citizens, including the development of services.

Saad added the monarch had directed to extend the disbursement of the cost of living allowance until the end of 2020.

Council member Abdullah Al-Odaim said the budget met the expectations of Saudi citizens, and strengthened the confidence of international investors, as figures showed the determination of the state to move forward in its policies to raise the efficiency of government spending.

They also showed increases in non-oil revenues, projected to grow more in light of the improvement of economic activity.

The delegated secretary-general of the Council of Saudi Chambers, Hussain Al-Abdulqader, said the Saudi business sector welcomed the budget which through
its projects and programs would help improve investment opportunities as well as the Saudi economy, ultimately strengthening the Kingdom’s global economic standing.