United Airlines will unveil its “United Next” plan Tuesday in Newark — an initiative that will lead to the purchase of 270 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft and is expected to transform the passenger experience while significantly lowering carbon emissions.
Even more, the program is expected to bring up to 5,000 union jobs to the state by 2026 — a job expansion program the airline said will add 25,000 jobs around the country.
United officials said the plan will not necessarily bring additional flights to Newark Liberty International Airport due to runway restrictions, but it will bring larger planes. Those planes, United officials say, eventually will all have increased amenities, including:
- Seat-back entertainment in every seat;
- Larger overhead bins for every passenger’s carry-on bag;
- The industry’s fastest available in-flight WiFi;
- A power outlet at every seat;
- New LED lighting that will be most noticeable during early morning and late-afternoon flights.
The order for the 270 aircraft is the largest combined order in the airline’s history and the biggest by an individual carrier in the last decade, United officials said. Combined with planes already on order, the airline said it expects to add 500 new planes by 2026 — retiring 300 in the process. The remaining planes in the fleet will be retrofitted to add the amenities.
For those familiar with the planes, United’s new aircraft order will be:
- 50 737 MAX 8s;
- 150 737 MAX 10s;
- 70 A321neos.
The order will significantly boost the number of premium seats on flights out of Newark and across the country. Airline officials said they expect to have, on average, 53 premium seats per North American departure by 2026, an increase of about 75% over 2019.
“Our United Next vision will revolutionize the experience of flying United as we accelerate our business to meet a resurgence in air travel,” United CEO Scott Kirby said.
“By adding and upgrading this many aircraft so quickly with our new signature interiors, we’ll combine friendly, helpful service with the best experience in the sky, all across our premier global network. At the same time, this move underscores the critical role United plays in fueling the broader U.S. economy — we expect the addition of these new aircraft will have a significant economic impact on the communities we serve in terms of job creation, traveler spending and commerce.”