In this Nov. 18, 2020 photo a Boeing 737 Max 9 built for United Airlines lands at King County International Airport-Boeing Field after a test flight from Moses Lake. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

In this Nov. 18, 2020 photo a Boeing 737 Max 9 built for United Airlines lands at King County International Airport-Boeing Field after a test flight from Moses Lake. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

United expands order for Boeing 737 Max aircraft

The airline is anticipating an increase in travel demand.

By Michelle Chapman / Associated Press

United Airlines is expanding its order of Boeing 737 Max airplanes and taking some deliveries sooner as it ramps up for an anticipated increase in travel demand.

Chief Operating Officer Andrew Nocella said in a memo on Monday that the company placed an order for 25 new 737 Max aircraft for delivery in 2023. United has also moved up delivery of 40 previously ordered 737 Max planes to next year and five 737 Max to 2023. That’s in addition to the 24 737 Max aircraft the company is already set to receive in 2023.

“We’ve now put ourselves in a position to not only survive the crisis, but thrive as an airline, elevate our product for customers and emerge as a stronger, better United Airlines,” Nocella wrote.

While United announced furloughs last week, Nocella said that the airline must place orders more than a year before taking delivery of aircraft.

“And as the end of the pandemic nears and vaccines continue to roll out, today’s fleet announcement helps position us to meet the demand we expect to see in 2022 and 2023 and puts us on a path toward more opportunities for our employees in the future,” he said.

The 737 Max has been under heavy scrutiny for a while. Aviation authorities around the world grounded 737 Max aircraft in March 2019 following deadly crashes involving the plane model in Ethiopia and off the coast of Indonesia, which occurred within five months of each other.

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