United Airlines, Avianca mull potential jet options
PHOENIX (Reuters) - United Airlines is looking at the latest upgraded A321 model from Airbus as well as concepts being touted by Boeing as potential replacements for its Boeing 757 fleet, but does not see a purchase in the near future, a senior executive said on Tuesday.
The airline industry is increasingly debating the future of a potentially promising niche between popular medium-haul aircraft, like Boeing's 737 or the Airbus A320 family, and the smallest wide-body or twin-aisle jets.
The gap includes future replacements for the Boeing 757, which halted production a decade ago.
Airbus Group (AIR.PA: Quote) has made inroads into an area traditionally dominated by Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote), with plans to increase the range of its largest medium-haul model, calling it the A321LR.
Boeing said on Monday it was discussing studies for a plane slightly larger than a 757 with more range.
"We are looking at both," Ron Baur, Vice President of Fleet at United Airlines, told a conference hosted by the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT) "The A321LR looks pretty decent, but we will see what Boeing is going to do in the mid-market."
"It comes down to what Boeing is going to do," he said, adding the age of United's 757 fleet meant it could evaluate all options and was under no pressure to make a rapid decision.
United Continental's finance director told Reuters last week he would like to see a replacement for the discontinued 757, which "has a particular sweet spot in our network." Continued...