President and CEO Jeffery Smisek is seeking aircraft larger than the -900 for the carrier’s future long-haul fleet, but is discounting the double-deck Airbus .
The European manufacturer’s A380 is “probably a little large for what we need”, but the A350-900 on the other hand “might be suboptimal for some of our routes,” Smisek told Aviation Week during a visit to Frankfurt.
United has ordered 25 A350-900s and 50, of which 14 will be the larger -9 version. United’s first 787-8 is to arrive in September and six will be delivered by year-end.
Among the aircraft that are under consideration for the higher capacity long-haul segment are the A350-1000, the Boeingand the , Smisek said.
But the more near-term decision is the replacement of United’s 92-strong-200 fleet.
“We don’t have a sufficient narrowbody order,” Smisek admitted. The airline is evaluating theand the MAX, but Smisek would not comment on a possible order or if the airline would consider current model narrowbodies. “It all depends on timing,” he noted.
Airbus’s plans to build a final assembly line for the A320 in Mobile, Ala. will have no influence on United’s narrowbody decision, Smisek added.