United Airlines today announced an order to purchase 50 new Airbus A321XLR aircraft. The carrier plans to replace and retire their existing fleet of Boeing 757-200 aircraft. The new aircraft will also operate on select transatlantic routes. United expects to introduce Airbus A321XLR into international service in 2024, to serve destinations in Europe from its East Coast hubs in Newark/New York and Washington.

United Airbus A321XLR

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. 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.

Andrew Nocella, United’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer

Additionally, the airline will defer the delivery of their order of Airbus A350s until 2027.

These 50 new Airbus A321XLR aircraft values at $7.1 billion before customary discounts.

According to Bloomberg, people familiar with the matter said United is dealing with the grounding of the 737 Max.

Boeing has also postponed developing a new midsize airplane (NMA), while it attempts to end the grounding of their 737 Max, which was banned from the skies in March after two deadly crashes.

United Boeing 737

United’s Airbus deal is particularly noteworthy, since the Chicago-based airline is one of the largest customers of Boeing’s 737 Max 10 planes; with 100 on order. While that Max variant is designed to haul a similar number of travellers as the A321, it will lack the range to tackle nine-hour flights like the XLR.