United-Continental is in talks with both Boeing and Airbus on replacement options for the Boeing 757, in what it said is an important issue to the carrier and to other 757 operators.
"There isn't yet a replacement for them, it's an issue, there's no question about it... there's a hole right now that neither manufacturer fills," said the carrier's CEO and president Jeff Smisek at the Deutsche Bank Aviation and Transportation Conference, when asked to comment on the carrier's strategy for the 757s.
United operates 96 757-200s while Continental has a fleet of 62 757s, comprising both -200 and -300 variants.
Smisek said the Boeing 737-900ER can operate some of the routes currently flown by the 757s but not all of them. While the airline plans to operate its 757s for "quite a while", he reiterated the urgency of finding a replacement for the aircraft type.
"We are in discussions with both Airbus and Boeing. It's important not just to us but to a lot of operators of the 757. It's a spectacular aircraft and we need a replacement but we don't have one today," said Smisek.