Following close on the heels of an announcement for an order for both Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 aircraft, United is now indicating that they may not be willing to wait for the two manufacturers to develop their next generation narrowbody aircraft. United Chairman and CEO Glenn Tilton indicated that they may consider the Bombardier CSeries aircraft as replacements for Boeing 737s that are being retired.
It certainly is a given that United will need to replace their current narrowbody fleet soon, and with Boeing and Airbus taking their time developing replacements for their 737 and A320 families respectively, I can’t blame United for becoming impatient. What I find interesting though, is the timing of this. It is almost as if United is telling both Boeing and Airbus “Hey, we like your aircraft, but your development timetable just isn’t going to match our needs.”
Could United become Bombardier’s launch customer for the CSeries? That would certainly be an interesting development.