Experts say United Airlines latest 737 Max purchase will boost Wichita’s aviation industry

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Air travel is taking off. On Tuesday, United Airlines announced its largest order for new aircraft in the company’s history. The numbers are staggering with a $25 billion price tag.

The order includes 70 Airbus aircraft and 200 737 Boeing aircraft.

The majority of the Boeing 737 Max is made in Wichita, and the United Airlines order is expected to help revive the aviation industry.

“It’s all about about the 737 ramp and of course surrounding this enormous fuselage machine is a pretty significant ecosystem of smaller companies that rise and fall on this train from 737 demand,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst with the Teal Group.

As America begins to see a rise in fuel prices and a spike in travel demand, Aboulafia said airlines are ready to upgrade.

“It becomes almost like an arms race if you will, to bring the latest and best onboard, make sure that the other competing airline can’t match you at a price and now in profit, you will work for both,” he said.

Wichita Eisenhower Airport has seen a 953% increase in air travelers since May 2020. Professor Dean Headley, the co-author of the Airline Quality Rating, said that is “good news.”

“Hopefully, there’ll be other airlines that see the same opportunity to kind of renew and refresh with new revenues coming in and things like that,” said Headley.

Headley said United’s announcement will mean years of work and demand for the 737 in Wichita.

“It spreads not only to Spirit but so far in so many directions of the economy that it will be good. It’s a matter of when it gets started and how long it lasts,” said Headley.

Headley said he expects Tuesday’s order will be the first of many.

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