The airline is receiving two new aircraft per week this year.
Earlier today, United Airlines announced the addition of the 100th Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to its rapidly growing fleet. The MAX 8 is registered as N17301 and flew from Boeing Field in Seattle to Greensboro on March 31. According to FlightRadar24.com, the aircraft has not flown since.
Chicago-based United Airlines has been a focal point of numerous headlines as it continues its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the headlines, like monumental aircraft orders, new routes, mass hiring, and more, have come from visionary leadership who see the potential for United to become the world’s largest carrier.
N170301 is the 100th Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to join United’s fleet, making the carrier the world’s second-largest operator of Boeing’s latest generation narrowbody. Between March 20 and today, April 4, United has added nine MAX planes, according to data from ch-aviation. Simple Flying published an article in late March in which data showed that United had 91 MAX aircraft, three less than Ryanair.
According to data from FR24, N17301’s first flight was on March 18 from Renton to a location marked as N/A. After that, the aircraft completed five flights with Boeing flight numbers before its first United flight on March 31 as UA2702. The aircraft, a MAX 8 with manufacturer serial number 67554, is the 44th MAX 8 to join the fleet.
United Airlines’ MAX fleet
In June 2021, United Airlines announced a massive order of narrowbody aircraft, split between Boeing 737MAXs and Airbus A320neos. Two hundred and seventy aircraft were ordered, divided between 200 MAXs and 70 A320neos. At the time, it was the largest single order from an American carrier since American Airlines’ order for 200 MAX aircraft in 2011.
Photo: Lukas Souza | Simple Flying
Last December, United again placed a massive aircraft order, the largest single widebody aircraft order in history. But the order was not just for widebodies; it included an additional 56 MAX aircraft and 44 options converted to firm orders. United’s order backlog now sits at 680, according to ch-aviation, with many deliveries taking place in 2023 and 2024. This year, the carrier is taking delivery of an average of two aircraft per week, which will increase next year to three weekly. Scott Kirby is confident in a successful future for the airline, saying,
“United emerged from the pandemic as the world’s leading global airline and the flag carrier of the United States. This order solidifies our lead and creates new opportunities for our customers, employees, and shareholders by accelerating our plan to connect more people to more places around the globe and deliver the best experience in the sky.”
A period of growth
The COVID-19 pandemic was a massive challenge for everyone worldwide, the aviation industry especially. Virtually overnight, airports were turned into ghost towns and parking lots for planes, staff were furloughed, and others offered early retirement packages, and there was no end in sight. Despite the difficulties it still faces, United Airlines has done an excellent job of recovering from the pandemic. Below are some of the highlights of recent weeks and months (this list is not in order of importance)
- Announcement of codeshare with Emirates, launch of route to Dubai
- Launch of Dubai flight
- Investments into sustainability – educating the public on sustainability by hiring a Chief Trash Officer, Oscar the Grouch. $5 million investment into Svante, a global leader in second-generation solid sorbent-based carbon capture and removal
- Announcement of Chicago’s first commercial air taxi route in partnership with Archer Aviation
- Launch of codeshare with Eurowings
- 200 Boeing 787 Order
- Largest transatlantic network of any American carrier
What do you think about United’s recent expansions and investments? Let us know in the comments below.