MIAMI — As previously reported, United Airlines announced an order to purchase 25 new Boeing 737-700s, in addition to the previously announced order for 40 of the type announced in January. These aircraft are intended to replace some of the smaller, older planes operated by its regional carriers.

“The new 737-700 aircraft are ideal for our fleet as we continue to reduce our reliance on 50-seat aircraft,” said Gerry Laderman, United’s senior vice president of finance and acting chief financial officer. United expects to take delivery of the first aircraft at the end of 2017.

The Queen of the Friendly Skies to be Retired in 2018

United also announced the end of almost half a century of service of its Boeing 747 fleet. The Chicago-based carrier will phase out the last of its 22 Boeing 747-400s by the end of 2018, two years before its planned retirement.

United Airlines Boeing 747-400. (Credits: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt)
United Airlines Boeing 747-400. (Credits: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt)

To cope with the early retirement of the jumbos, besides meeting its capacity needs, the airline will be converting 787 orders anticipated for delivery in 2020 and beyond into four 777-300ERs and five 787-9s for deliveries in 2017.

The decision also seems to benefit Boeing, which now narrows the existing production gap transition between the 777 and its forthcoming generation, the 777X.

United Airlines currently has firm orders for 35 Airbus A350-1000s, 153 aircraft from the Boeing 737 family, 10 Boeing 777-300ERs, and 27 Boeing 787s. The airline also has firm orders for 10 Embraer E175s to be operated by United Express partners.