United sees no imminent need for long-range 757 replacement

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United Airlines can wait before it must make a decision on a replacement for its long-range Boeing 757-200 fleet, says the carrier's vice-president of fleet Ron Baur.

"We have time on that," he says regarding the fleet while onboard the Chicago-based airline's first Boeing 787 revenue flight since January to Chicago O'Hare on 20 May. "There's no plan to replace the international [ones] other than to upgauge."

He says that United can upgauge some of its long-range 757-200s to 787s because of the cost savings associated with the new - if larger - aircraft.

The carrier's long-range 757-200s are configured with 169 seats compared with 219 seats on its 787s.

Baur declines to comment on a timeline when asked how long United has before it must make a decision.

"There are two fleets, the domestic 752s and the international ones are pretty good vintage," he says. "They're 1995 to 2002 vintage [and] can fly longer stage lengths."

United has 39 757-200s that were delivered during and after 1995, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database. It has 130 of the type in its fleet.

The airline plans to replace its older domestic 757-200s with Boeing 737-900ERs. It announced the sale of up to 30 757-200s to FedEx as part of this replacement programme in March.

United has firm orders for 85 737-900ERs as well as 52 options, Ascend shows.

Boeing's in development 737 Max 9 and its competitor the Airbus A321neo lack the range of the 757. The new models will have maximum ranges of 3,595nm (6,658km) and roughly 3,650nm, respectively, compared to 3,900nm for the 757-200.

The airframer ended production of the 757 in 2005.