United Sells Some Boeing 737 MAXs & 787s

United Airlines has sold 22 aircraft to BOC Aviation, a Singapore-based aircraft leasing company.

Specifically, United has sold 16 Boeing 737 MAX 9s and six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners for an unknown price. However, these aircraft are expected to be leased back to United on long-term agreements.

The complete transaction of these 22 aircraft is set to finalize sometime this year.

Cathay Pacific recently did a similar move with BOC Aviation. They sold six Boeing 777-300ERs but Cathay expects to lease the aircrafts back from BOC Aviation.

Before this decision to sell and lease back aircraft, United Airlines had 28 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners with 10 on order and and 14 Boeing 737 MAX 9s with 71 on order.


Image: https://www.jetphotos.com/photo/9637787

As airlines are continuously losing money, we will likely see more of them sell aircraft to leasing companies and potentially lease them back when demand returns.


Wow this is very unexpected. Do you know exactly what aircrafts were involved in the transaction? I was curious to see if I had spotted them once.

Not much is known other than the amount of aircraft at the moment. They haven’t said if these are the 737 MAXs/787s on order or if they’re the existing ones.

I’d assume they’re the ones on order though.

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I’m surprised. I’m expecting the aviation business to blow up again as soon as this is all over. I would think they would keep them, but I’m not an expert.

Is there any change to the aircraft they have on order? Transferred perhaps? Or is this just to stop bleeding money on aircraft they own 🤔

It will take a couple years though for demand to return to normal, since countries will need to open their borders, staff needs to be hired, they need to bring back aircraft from storage, etc.

They’re going to continue flying the aircraft, but technically they’ll just be leased and not “owned” by them.


Basically transferred. United no longer owns the aircraft but they expect to operate them sometime later.

More or less. By selling and leasing back these aircraft, United can generate immediate revenue to save them some money.

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All the undelivered aircraft? Or just some?

I’m assuming they’re transferring the undelivered orders to BOC, but it’s unclear at the moment.

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I wouldn’t personally be surprised if they don’t unless it says they did, I might sound crazy, but hear me out, I assume united just wants the cash injection now, and assumes there business will come back enough to cover the long term likely net loss of leasing vs owning, not to mention to sum what offload the cost of the aircraft right now. That benefit isn’t as president, if at all with an aircraft they didn’t have. If they had sold all there aircraft of a given fleet I would assume undelivered aircraft would be included, but for the reasons I at least see them doing this for I would assume they would sell all the in use aircraft first. I could be wrong, but that’s my two cents… 🤷🏻‍♂️

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They might not want the MAXs back…

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These are some rather new aircraft and their a big company, so it’s not like they’re going to go bankrupt. I’m surprised they’re selling them.

If I were them I would sell the older 777 instead of the 787 but still glad to see that they are doing something 👍

Why would they do that, no one wants old 772s, but they can get a lot more for an undelivered 787

Yeah but when the industry starts to pick up again they are going to want the Dreamliners and then the 777 will be more obsolete. It is just to get a little money for the time being while cleaning up there fleet.

The whole point is they are undelivered aircraft…BOC would never be able to find somewhere to place old 772s, but brand new 787s are another story.

There is absolutely no telling when the industry will get back to 2019 levels, it could be years.
UA doesn’t need any new (and extremely pricey) aircraft, the 772s you suggest UA sell off, are probably long paid off, and have just received millions worth of new cabins.
The 737 Maxes and 789s are an easy way to get a bit more cash to delay whatever comes next.

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It’s going to be a while before the industry returns to it’s normal pace as I said above. They need to have countries opening their borders, aircraft moving from storage to their bases, more staff being hired, crew returning from leave, and most importantly passengers. It’s likely a lot of people will be hesitant to sit next to others on flights with all that’s happening.

Once all of this is done, they can think about expanding or bringing back their Dreamliners. Also, they will continue operating these aircraft, but technically they’ll be leased for a long time. Maybe they won’t even need them to renew the lease once they have their A350s in 2027, or maybe they will buy them back.

At the moment, every airline is just trying to survive. Whatever happens in the future isn’t in their control, but they won’t even have a future if they don’t have cash.

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