02 March 2010

Sarah, your new planes are on order

For the first time in 11 years, United Airlines has placed an order for new aircraft. The order includes 25 firm orders for the Boeing 787, with options for 50 more. This order has been rumored and discussed for almost a year, so I'm glad to finally see it become reality.

Chicago Breaking Business News

This order takes advantage of decreased demands from other airlines for new aircraft, due to the global recession. Due to the still-sketchy nature of the 787 program, the orders have been scheduled so that the 787 will not actually enter United service until 2016. Moreover, an order for a rival aircraft, the Airbus A350, is still being negotiated, meaning that if the 787 turns out to be a real dud, the risks will be minor.

Those miserable 747s and 767s need to be phased out soon, so this is a good thing for Sarah, and for the passengers she serves. I am thinking of a possible trip to Tokyo (my first visit to Japan) later this year, but the thought of hopping on one of those aging 747s, with only an old projector screen for video entertainment in economy class, is NOT appetizing at all. And when passengers don't feel good about an airplane, they won't like Sarah too much either, and inferior amenities also prevent Sarah from delivering a better service to passengers as well.

In addition to the 787 and the A350, another order of narrowbody aircraft, to add to and eventually replace the current A320 and 757 fleet (the retirement of the 737 has really shrunk the fleet), is being worked on, the article says. Due to newer, smaller, efficient jets from Bombardier and Embraer, the competition among manufacturers should be more fierce than for the big jets under Boeing-Airbus duopoly. In any case, the 757 is way too old. For Sarah and her airline to hold on to elite customers like me, ongoing aircraft and service investments are badly needed.

Enjoy your 787, Sarah, and I hope to run into you on board soon.

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