United Airlines announced on Tuesday that it has ordered 50 new Airbus jets to replace its aging Boeing aircraft.
In a press release, the airline detailed the purchase of 50 A321XLR aircraft that will fly select transatlantic routes, starting in 2024. As it phases in the new aircraft, the airline will phase out its Boeing 757-200 aircraft, which are expected to reach the end of their lifespan in about 10 years.
"The new Airbus A321XLR aircraft is an ideal one-for-one replacement for the older, less-efficient aircraft currently operating between some of the most vital cities in our intercontinental network," United's Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Andrew Nocella, said in a statement. "In addition to strengthening our ability to fly more efficiently, the A321XLR's range capabilities open potential new destinations to further develop our route network and provide customers with more options to travel the globe."
The A321XLR aircraft boasts a 30 percent reduction in overall fuel burn per seat in comparison to previous generation aircraft, the airline said.
Boeing was considering a new twin-aisle plane which could have put it in competition with Airbus for the deal. However, the manufacturer delayed its launch decision until 2020 as it deals with the global grounding of its 737 MAX aircraft after it was involved in two fatal crashes.
As two of the biggest commercial aircraft manufacturers in the world, Boeing and Airbus have long been rivals. And United’s deal is just the most recent blow to Boeing.
Recently, JetBlue, American Airlines and Spirit have signed deals with Airbus for its new A320-neo jets, designed and marketed for their fuel efficiency.