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.


Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

Updated 45 min 8 sec ago

Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

  • Aramco see’s “partial recovery” from pandemic impact
  • Aramco president says company remains resilient

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, reported a net income of $6.57bn for the second quarter of 2020, the period which witnessed the most volatile oil market conditions for many decades.

The result, announced to the Tadawul stock exchange in Riyadh where the shares are listed, compared with income of $24.7 bn last year.

Amin Nasser, president and chief executive, said: “Despite COVID-19 bringing the world to a standstill, Aramco kept going. We have proven our financial resilience and operational reliability, setting a record in our business operations, while at the same time taking steps to ensure the health and safety of our people.”

Aramco’s dividend - a big attraction for the investors who bought into the world’s biggest initial public offering last year - will remain as pledged, Nasser added. Cash flow in the quarter amounted to $6.106 bn.

““Strong headwinds from reduced demand and lower oil prices are reflected in our second quarter results. Yet we delivered solid earnings because of our low production costs, unique scale, agile workforce, and unrivalled financial and operational strength. This helped us deliver on our plan to maintain a second quarter dividend of $18.75 billion to be paid in the third quarter,” he said.

Aramco said the loss was “mainly reflecting the impact of lower crude oil prices and declining refining and chemicals margins, partly offset by a decrease in production royalties resulting from lower crude oil prices and a decrease in the royalty rate from 20 per cent to 15 per cent, lower income taxes and zakat as a result of lower earnings, and higher other income related to sales for gas products.”

Sales and revenue in the period - which saw oil prices collapse on “Black Monday” in April - fell 57 per cent to $32.861 bn from the comparable period last year. 

Nasser said he was cautiously optimistic that the world economy was slowly recovering from the depths of the pandemic lockdowns.

“We are seeing a partial recovery in the energy market as countries around the world take steps to ease restrictions and reboot their economies. Meanwhile, we continue to place people’s safety first and have adapted to the new normal, implementing wide-ranging precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 wherever we operate.

“We are determined to emerge from the pandemic stronger and will continue making progress on our long-term strategic journey, through ongoing investments in our business – which has one of the lowest upstream carbon footprints in the world,” he added.

Aramco expects capital expenditure to be at the lower end of the $25bn to $30bn range it has already indicated for this year.