United adds Boeing 787s, expands US coast-to-coast routes

CHICAGO/SEATTLE (Reuters) – United Airlines said on Monday it has ordered nine more Boeing Co 787 wide-bodies to modernize its fleet as it expands its domestic network with additional coast-to-coast seats between New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The Boeing order, worth $2.53 billion according to list prices, brings the US planemaker's total 787 orders for 2018 to 105 aircraft, already surpassing the 94 orders it received in all of 2017, a source familiar with the deal said.

Reuters reported in May that Airbus was lagging behind Boeing in an effort to place its A330neo at United, which sets the tone for fleet decisions worldwide, and win a high-profile endorsement of its slow-selling jet.

United's expanded transcontinental routes are part of the third largest US air carrier's plans to increase its overall capacity by around 4.5 percent to 5 percent this year, a faster pace than other airlines in the industry.

Under the plan announced on Monday, United will add more than 700 daily seats and 125 premium seats on 27 daily flights between New York/Newark and Los Angeles and San Francisco, thanks to an extra daily flight and the use of more wide-bodies on those roundtrip routes.

For example, some of the coast-to-coast flights will be serviced by its new and larger 787-10 Dreamliner jets beginning early next year.

As for the 787-9 order, United said it expects to take delivery in 2020 of the new aircraft, which will be used to replace older widebody aircraft.