United Airlines has announced plans to add 25 planes to its order for Boeing 737 Max jets, bringing its total to 180 in the coming years. The airline expects to receive 24 aircraft this year, followed by 40 next year and 54 in 2023.
Andrew Nocella, United’s chief commercial officer, says that the airline plans to use the jet throughout North America, including Hawaii, replacing smaller planes as demand returns. It is also more fuel-efficient than its predecessors. For instance, the 737 MAX 8 reduces fuel use and CO2 emissions by 14% over the newest Next-Generation 737 and 20% better than the first Next-Generation 737s. And the 737 MAX 8 uses 8% less fuel per seat than the A320neo. This is a crucial benefit for United as it seeks to reduce its carbon footprint.
The embattled 737 Max has been updated and allowed to return to the skies after crashes in Indonesia in October 2018 and Ethiopia in March 2019 that killed a total of 346 people. In November 2020, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) became the first global regulator to lift its ban on the jet. After that, Boeing and other airlines that use the Max were required to modify the wiring, install software updates, and make other changes to the planes before they could fly again.
Meanwhile, United Airlines and Japan recently grounded their Boeing 777s powered by the same Pratt and Whitney engine, the PW4000. This came after one of the planes suffered an engine failure. United Flight 328, a Boeing 777-200 bound for Honolulu, made an emergency landing at Denver International Airport shortly after takeoff after its right engine failed.