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HomeUncategorizedWSJ News Exclusive | United Airlines Close to Deal for Dozens of...

WSJ News Exclusive | United Airlines Close to Deal for Dozens of Boeing 787 Dreamliners

United Airlines Holdings Inc.

is close to a deal to order dozens of

Boeing Co.

BA 4.03%

787 Dreamliners, people familiar with the matter said.

An agreement between the Chicago-based carrier and Boeing could be completed as soon as this month, some of these people said.

If completed, the deal would be worth billions of dollars in revenue and mark a victory for the U.S. plane maker over its European rival


SE, which had competed for the deal, people familiar with the matter said. Boeing has resumed deliveries of the Dreamliner after a nearly two-year freeze following a string of manufacturing and regulatory issues.

Airbus has been dominating the market for smaller, narrow-body aircraft with its A320 family and expanding its lead over the rival 737 MAX since the latter’s previous grounding following two fatal crashes of that jet in 2018 and 2019. But Boeing has retained a larger share of the market for wide-body jets, which hold more passengers and are generally used for long-haul international routes.

Dreamliners are popular among airlines for their fuel-efficiency and ability to make new direct routes profitable, bypassing the need to connect cities via a central hub. Each carries a list price of about $300 million before typical discounts, according to Boeing’s latest publicly available list prices.

United, Boeing and Airbus declined to comment. Deals for new aircraft can fall apart even in their later stages.

United has communicated privately that the airline is preparing to order some 100 airplanes to replace its aging wide-body jets, people familiar with the matter said.

Over the last year, United has experienced operational issues with its Boeing 767 fleet, accelerating the need to decide on a replacement for those planes, people familiar with the matter said. The deal in the works is designed in part to replace those aircraft, some of these people said. The carrier has more than 50 of the wide-body jets in its fleet, according to a securities filing earlier this year.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many Dreamliners United would order under the deal. People familiar with the talks said United and Boeing have recently been in late-stage discussions about a sizable order that could involve a mix of confirmed orders and options for future purchases for as many as 50 aircraft or more.

Airbus is expected to continue vying for a potential follow-on order from United as the carrier weighs options for the replacement of its bigger Boeing 777s, people familiar with the matter said.

Boeing is typically nearly tied for orders with rival Airbus entering the annual Farnborough Airshow, but this year it’s well behind. WSJ’s George Downs reports from the show on how Boeing is trying to catch up and what it will take to restore balance to the aviation duopoly. Illustration: Rami Abukalam

Write to Andrew Tangel at and Benjamin Katz at

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