United converts majority of 787-8 orders to -10 variant

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Updated with comments from United

United Airlines has converted seven of its eight remaining Boeing 787-8 orders to the larger 787-10, as it prepares to take its first 787-9.

The Chicago-based carrier will take the seven 787-10s from 2018 under the deal that was reached with Boeing in July, it says in a quarterly stock exchange filing. The 787-8s were scheduled for delivery in 2017 and 2018.

United now has firm orders for one 787-8 that will be delivered later in 2014, 26 787-9s and 27 787-10s, based on Flightglobal’s calculations and the Ascend Fleets database. The change will leave it with just 12 787-8s in its fleet after the final delivery.

The airline also has options for 10 787-8s, Ascend shows.

Boeing has yet to include the conversion in its orders and deliveries summary.

"The flexibility of our fleet plan allows us to make conversions like these that help us manage our capital expenditures and put the right aircraft in place for our network," says United.

The carrier plans to use the roughly 320-seat 787-10 to replace the 242-seat Boeing 767-400ER and the up to 348-seat Boeing 777-200, vice-president of fleet Ron Baur told Flightglobal in May.

United operates 16 767-400ERs and 74 777-200s, Ascend shows.

The airline was one of five launch customers of the 787-10 at the Paris air show in June 2013. Its initial order for 20 of the type included 10 new aircraft and 10 conversions from its existing 787-8 and -9 orderbook.

United plans to take delivery of its first 787-9 before the end of the summer, which suggests an August or early September delivery. It will add two to its fleet this year.