Is United Planning To Add 100 Seat Planes To Fleet?

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When it comes to airline fleets, they must always think about what makes the most sense in terms of what type of planes to have, and there are talks that United Airlines wants to add 100 seat Jets, which would be operated by mainline United crews.

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Per Bloomberg Business, United Airlines plans to order a fleet of 100-seat jetliners from either Bombardier Inc. or Embraer SA if it can agree on terms for a two-year contract extension with pilots in expedited bargaining.

Reaching a deal would assure labor peace with a crucial union for new Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz and bring back some flying now done by regional partners with cramped, less-efficient 50-seat planes. For Bombardier or Embraer, a sale to United would be a significant victory as they try to place their biggest narrow-body models at the largest U.S. carriers.

“This time of senior leadership change is a unique opportunity for us,” United Senior Vice President Douglas McKeen wrote in an Oct. 2 letter to union chief Jay Heppner, in a reference to Munoz’s hiring last month after the ouster of predecessor Jeff Smisek. McKeen proposed capping the talks at 45 days.

An airline spokeswoman, Megan McCarthy, confirmed the overture but declined to discuss the possible negotiating terms at the unit of United Continental Holdings Inc. Dave Kelly, a spokesman for United’s chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association, said: “We cannot discuss offers or proposals.”

Bottom Line

Delta was recently thinking of adding 100 seat jets to its fleet, but it was shortly voted down by the crews, so it will be interesting to see if United will be able to get the support from its crews on this.

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