United may retire its 22 Boeing 747s prior to the 2020 timeframe that was previously outlined last year. At that time, the CFO stated that costly maintenance would likely be required in 2020 and the airline would be making an important decision then. However, this week a memo sent to pilots from the SVP of flight operations seems to indicate an accelerated timetable:
“As you know, this is an aging fleet that many operators are beginning to exit from service, and as this happens support for the aircraft, especially in our spokes, gets more difficult.”
The memo notes that the airline would then accelerate delivers of other long-haul aircraft.
Bloomberg reports that:
The third-largest U.S. carrier has ordered 35 of the largest jets in Airbus Group SE’s A350 family. It could also add more Boeing 777-300ERs. United’s 22 fly out of Chicago and San Francisco. United sees ending the jumbo’s run in Chicago in February 2017, with the rest of the fleet based in San Francisco, according to the memo.