United Invests in Future, Places Order for Next-Generation Aircraft

Orders 25 Dreamliners, 25 Airbus A350s


"United Airlines is a global icon, and it's very gratifying that they have chosen the A350 to be a key part of their strategy," said Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders. "It also is fitting that the selection of the eco-efficient A350-900 comes at a time when the world is focusing on operating as efficiently as possible and minimizing environmental impact. Airbus and United have been partners for two decades, and we look forward to extending that partnership well into the future."

United last took delivery of aircraft in 2002, and last ordered aircraft in 1998.

About United

United Airlines, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UAL Corporation (Nasdaq: UAUA), operates approximately 3,300* flights a day on United and United Express to more than 200 U.S. domestic and international destinations from its hubs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago and Washington, D.C. With key global air rights in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and Latin America, United is one of the largest international carriers based in the United States. United also is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides connections for our customers to 1,071 destinations in 171 countries worldwide. United's 47,000 employees reside in every U.S. state and in many countries around the world. News releases and other information about United can be found at the company's Web site at united.com.

*Based on United's forward-looking flight schedule for October 2009 to October 2010.

Questions and Answers

Q1: What financial benefits will United gain from the new order?

A1: The investment return from replacing aging aircraft is driven by a significant reduction in operating costs, including total fuel burn savings for the 50 firm orders of about 33 percent and maintenance cost savings of about 40 percent per available seat mile compared with the aircraft they will replace. We also expect to benefit from the smaller gauge and longer range of these aircraft, which match the right aircraft size and range capability to the right market, consistent with our commitment to capacity discipline. The cost efficiencies and capabilities of the new aircraft will also open up new revenue opportunities for markets we cannot profitably serve today.

Q2: How will these aircraft be used?

A2: The new aircraft will be used to replace our older international widebody aircraft. The new aircraft will downgauge our widebody fleet, reducing the average seat count for the 50 aircraft being replaced by about 19 percent, and resulting in a system-wide international fleet seat count reduction of about 10 percent. This reduction is largely the result of the retirement of our Boeing 747 aircraft. The reduction in average aircraft size, combined with the much longer range of these new aircraft, will allow United to better match capacity to profitable demand while maximizing our network breadth and flexibility.

Q3: How will these new aircraft improve United's operating cost efficiency, fuel efficiency and environmental impact?

A3: The next generation airframe and engine technology in these aircraft provide a step change improvement in operating and fuel efficiency and environmental impact. Total fuel burn for the 50 new aircraft improves by about 33 percent compared to the aircraft they will replace, saving roughly 175 million of gallons of fuel annually. Non-fuel operating costs are significantly improved as well, primarily driven by a 40 percent reduction per available seat mile in annual maintenance costs over the life of the aircraft compared to our existing fleets.

This efficiency improvement, combined with the downgauging of aircraft size, will reduce carbon emissions for the 50 firm aircraft by about 1.7 million metric tons.

Q4: What is the cash investment required in the near term?

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