How old are the oldest planes in the fleet of the world's largest airline?


How old are the oldest planes in the fleet of the world's largest airline?

One of the top four US carriers along with American, Delta and Southwest, United Airlines has both wide and narrow body aircraft of all ages in its fleet. The newest planes United — one of the founders of Star Alliance — “Boeing” 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliner. But there are also operating and non-breaking liners that have been operating in the airline for the longest time.

Fleet Boeing 767–300— the oldest in the airline. These twin-engine wide-body aircraft arrived at United in the early 90s and are now — from 29 to 32 years old. There are about 20 aircraft in this old batch of 767–300. All of them were delivered to United without winglets (winglets) on the wings, but were retrofitted with them over 25 years later, between 2016 and 2017. All of these aircraft are powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW4000.

United has two cabin configurations for the B767: a larger one with 30 seats in business class and 184 seats in economy, as well as a “prestige” one, consisting of 46 seats in business class, 22 seats in premium economy and 99 seats in regular economy class. These premium 767s most often fly from key American airports: Newark Liberty, Washington Dulles, Boston and Chicago O'Hare to European destinations London Heathrow, Zurich and Geneva. Given the characteristics of the contingent focused on the business reputation of these European cities, United seeks to sell more seats in the premium economy business on these routes.

As for aircraft with denser seating, they fly to other cities according to the mentality : Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Munich, Lima, New York, Naples, Venice.

The oldest narrow-body aircraft of United Airlines — their interesting stories. These are aircraft that were delivered directly to the airline by the Airbus concern in the early to mid-90s. The oldest A320-200 entered the United fleet in November 1993.

Interestingly, at the end of 2005, several of these older single-aisle A320s left United's fleet for Ted's budget subsidiary. This immediately led to a change in layout: their two-class configuration was simplified: there was one saloon with 156 seats. Alas, Ted didn't last long, going out of business in 2009. And “airbuses” returned to flights on United routes and continue to do so to this day.

Today, those same A320s operate domestic flights to Houston, Denver, Chicago and other US centers. For some, fate smiled, and they fly abroad, south: to Los Cabos and Mexico City.

Eventually the new 737 MAX aircraft will replace the older A320s. And with wide-body liners it's not so easy. At least in 2021, United executives were optimistic about the continued operation of 767s in the future, believing that many of them — especially fleet 777 and 767 — can last 30 years or more.

Indeed, in 2017 and 2018, the interiors of the old 767s were completed, as a result of which their interiors are now less than six years old. 

The however, United is carefully considering what aircraft it can order to replace the 767s. The airline is ready to accommodate a large — over 100 — an order for wide-body aircraft, which is expected to be implemented towards the end of 2023. The main “disassembly” takes place between rivals Airbus and Boeing. Given the current composition of the United fleet, which is dominated by American concern aircraft, the Airbus A350 looks like an obvious outsider. At the same time, 787 Dreamliner can be seen as a leader. However, the Boeing 777X cannot be written off, especially since United is in no hurry to make expensive purchases and is not in a hurry with modernization.

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