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.


Riyadh property market swells as mortgages surge 250%

Updated 29 January 2020

Riyadh property market swells as mortgages surge 250%

  • Vision 2030 economic reforms and major infrastructure projects encourage investment into capital’s real estate sector

LONDON: Riyadh recorded a 250 percent jump in mortgages last year as the value and number of property deals surged in the Saudi capital.

The volume of real estate transactions rose by 53 percent in 2019 compared to a year earlier while the value of transactions was up 63 percent according to a report from broker CBRE.

“The recent economic and social initiatives and legislation introduced by the Saudi Government have already had an extremely positive impact on the country’s real estate sector,” said Simon Townsend, head of strategic advisory at CBRE MENAT. “We are already starting to witness impressive growth across major real estate segments including residential, hospitality and retail, and this upwards trajectory is likely to continue in the short to medium term.”

Ongoing economic reforms under the Vision 2030 initiative have encouraged investment into the real estate sector while spending on major infrastructure projects such as the Riyadh Metro and tourism developments on the Red Sea coast have helped to boost confidence despite oversupply concerns.

“Overall, the country is making great leaps in its efforts to become a global business hub and world-class tourism destination, and the market is expected to continue to react positively to the efforts of the public and private sectors alike,” added Townsend.

Residential mortgages for individuals in the Kingdom recorded a growth rate of more than 250 percent in terms of the number of contracts signed from January 2019 — November 2019, according to the CBRE data. The value of contracts rose by more than 160 percent in the same period year-on-year. 

FASTFACT

At the end of last year, the capital’s residential supply stood at 1,290,000 residential units with an expected delivery of 111,000 additional units by 2023.

In October 2019, the Ministry of Housing launched an initiative to support residential renovations by providing financing for residential units more than 15 years old which is expected to result in higher activity among existing aging stock within the central districts of Riyadh.

Beneficiaries of the Saudi Ministry of Housing’s ‘Sakani’ initiative aimed at increasing the national rate of home ownership, grew by about 14 percent in 2019.

At the end of last year, the capital’s residential supply stood at 1,290,000 residential units with an expected delivery of 111,000 additional units by 2023, CBRE said.

Hotel occupancy is also on the rise in the capital and is expected to receive a further boost from Saudi Arabia hosting the G20 summit this year.

The opening of Qiddiya entertainment giga project which is scheduled for 2023 is also expected to benefit the tourism sector.

There are currently about 17,700 hotel rooms in Riyadh with another 4,500 expected to enter the market by 2023. Hotel occupancy has risen by 5 percent year-on-year, CBRE said.