United Airlines executives have expressed concerns regarding the Boeing 737 MAX, particularly the MAX-10 variant, impacting the airline’s future growth strategies. In the 2023 year-end financial call, Chief Executive Scott Kirby, alongside other leaders, highlighted the issues with the MAX-10, potentially affecting the airline’s future plans and passenger experience.
During the call’s question-and-answer segment, Kirby clarified the airline’s position on the MAX-10 in light of recent challenges with the aircraft family. He stated, “We are not canceling the order. We are taking it out of our internal plans,” as per a Seeking Alpha transcript. Kirby elaborated that Boeing might not meet their contractual delivery obligations for many of these aircraft.
United Executives Voice Uncertainty Over Boeing 737 MAX Deliveries in Financial Call
United’s Chief Financial Officer Mike Leskinen informed investors and reporters that the airline has an order of 277 MAX 10s, with an option for 200 more. However, with the grounding of the MAX-9 and Boeing’s ongoing efforts to address a door plug issue, United anticipates delays in receiving the aircraft. Leskinen noted, “Look, the reality is that with the MAX grounding, this is the kind of straw that broke the camel’s back with believing that the MAX 10 will deliver on the schedule we had hoped for,” according to the transcript. The airline is currently developing alternative plans in response.
The impact of these developments on United’s ‘United Next’ plan remains uncertain, though the airline expects to provide more clarity during their scheduled investor day on May 1, 2024.
MileagePlus Continues Progress
Additionally, United Airlines executives discussed progress in monetizing their MileagePlus loyalty program. Leskinen mentioned ongoing projects focusing on data utilization for enhancing customer experience and revenue generation, promising more details to be revealed in May. He said, “We have significant projects underway around data and how we can create a better customer experience and monetize that data, simultaneous,” as reported in the transcript.