CHICAGO, ILLINOISUnited Airlines is reportedly in talks with Boeing and Airbus to add around 200 narrowbody jets. If confirmed, the deal could include up to 150 Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets and a dozen Airbus A321neo jets, an anonymous source said.

The airline is poised to expand its fleet at a time when the demand for air travel is surging in the United States.

"We do not currently have a deal in place with Boeing or Airbus to purchase new aircraft and do not comment on speculative aircraft orders," United spokesperson Luke Punzenberger said in response to the claim.

Boeing and Airbus both said they do not comment on customer discussions.

In March, United ordered 25 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, as it prepares to replace aging jets and meet post-pandemic demand growth. Bookings for U.S. airlines are expected to rebound this year on the back of COVID-19 vaccinations and easing restrictions after the pandemic caused the industry's worst downturn.

A deal split between the 168-seat Boeing 737 MAX 8 and the roughly 200-seat A321neo would deliver a broad boost to the aerospace sector as it clambers out of the COVID-19 crisis. It would bolster Boeing's main cash cow, the MAX 8, after a safety grounding while reinforcing a trend towards Airbus at the higher end of the busy single-aisle segment that threatens to alter the product line-up in their transatlantic duopoly.

Airbus' A321neo has snapped up a dominant share of orders in the recently booming large single-aisle segment, prompting Boeing to weigh a replacement for its out-of-production 757, which overlaps with the A321neo in size and range.
(Via Reuters)