CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago-based United Airlines has agreed to buy 150 new jets from another Chicago aviation giant — Boeing — in a deal with a list price worth nearly $15 billion.
WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports Boeing won the contract with United over European rival Airbus. The order for 150 Boeing 737s was announced at United’s headquarters in Chicago on Thursday.
“We negotiated what we believe to be the best airplane, with the best engines, at the best price,” United CEO Jeff Smisek said. “We have a bunch of great new airplanes.”
The deal includes 100 Boeing 737 Max 9 jets and 50 737-900ER jets, worth a total of about $14.7 billion at list prices, although airlines typically get discounts on such large orders.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser Reports
“These airplanes that we’re ordering today are not only more fuel efficient, but they’re operationally more reliable, they’re environmentally more responsible, and they’re very customer-pleasing,” Smisek said.
The jets are 15 percent more fuel efficient than older Boeing 737s, and more comfortable, with a more open feel for passengers.
“These aircraft have the new Boeing Sky Interior. They have bigger bins, they have better lighting, a more open feel to them. We’re putting in a very modern seat, a very modern lounge. I think the customers really enjoy the airplanes,” Smisek said.
Boeing CEO Jim McNerney said, “I want to thank United for putting your trust in us. It means a great deal.”
Boeing commercial airlines president Ray Conner handed Smisek a model of a new 737.
“Hopefully, it’ll be a little bigger in a while,” Smisek said.
The first 737-900ERs will start arriving next year, replacing older Boeing 757-200s. The Max 9s will begin arriving in 2018.