United Airlines announced Thursday it is ordering 150 new narrowbody jetliners from Boeing, including 100 of the fuel-efficient 737-Max 9s and 50 737-900ERs. The deal means Boeing has surpassed 10,000 total orders for its various 737s.
The deal is worth $14.7 billion at list prices, although there are usually discounts involved that bring down the price of large orders like this one.
"This order is a major step in building the world's leading airline, and we look forward to offering our customers the modern features and reliability of new Boeing airplanes, while also making our fleet more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly," said Jeff Smisek, United's President and CEO.
The 737 Max 9s will be delivered starting in 2018. The 737-900ERs will be delivered starting next year.
"United and Boeing share a rich history together and we are delighted United has chosen the 737 for its future fleet, renewing our partnership for decades to come," said Ray Conner, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Boeing released a photo of workers at its Renton plant lining up to spell out the number 10,000. The photo was taken last month in anticipation of the milestone, but released Thursday.
The order doesn't necessarily mean United is getting bigger. The planes that begin arriving late next year will replace older Boeing 757-200s, which are no longer made. It said the new planes are 15 percent more fuel-efficient per seat than the ones they will replace. The Maxes that begin arriving in 2018 could either replace old planes or make United's fleet bigger, Smisek said.
The 737 is a workhorse of domestic flying. United already flies 43 of those planes, which seat 173 people. For the new 737 Max, United is ordering the biggest version Boeing makes, which seats up to 215 people.
The order is a win for Boeing Co., which has been hoping to boost orders for the Max. Airbus beat Boeing to the punch last year by offering a competing version of its own A320 with a new engine earlier than Boeing did.
Boeing has been showing off the 737 Max and 787 Dreamliner this week at the Farnborough Airshow in England. David Parker Brown, Founder of Airlinereporter.com, is at Farnborough. He says all the buzz right now is over this new order from United.
"This is huge. United Airlines runs one of the biggest fleets of 737s and also Airbus A320s, so the idea that they know both aircraft, and if it ends up that they go with the 737 Max, that will be huge for Boeing and other airlines around the world,” said Brown.
Avalon has also purchased 20 new 737 Max airplanes and 10 737-800s. Domhnal Slattery, CEO of Avalon says the Max delivers exactly what the industry is looking for.
"Airlines all over the world are looking for more fuel efficient aircrafts and the Boeing 737 MAX really delivers that for airlines, so we have a very strong conviction that this aircraft is going to be in big demand on a global basis,” said Slattery.
Boeing has announced at least $33.4 billion in orders during the first four days of the airshow.
Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier is still confident Airbus will be ahead of Boeing in the race to sell new airplanes.
"We will see, but I am pretty sure that since we launched neo, we will, at the end of 2012, still be ahead of Boeing with their product,” said Bregier.
Shares of United Continental Holdings Inc. fell 65 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $24.14 in afternoon trading Thursday, while Boeing shares rose 31 cents to $71.83.
Information compiled by KING 5's Jake Whittenberg and Travis Pittman. Includes information from The Associated Press.