(UAL) United Continental Holdings in Deal with Embraer

United Airlines, the wholly owned subsidiary of United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL), has agreed to buy 30 Embraer 175 regional jets. The deal, estimated at about $4 billion, also has the option of 40 additional purchases.

These 76 seater aircraft from the Brazilian plane manufacturer will replace United’s older 50-seat regional jets that are proving expensive due to high fuel prices. With the new airplanes, United will be able to save 10% fuel per passenger as well as have less of harmful gas emissions.

United Airlines also targets to offer a more comfortable flying experience to passengers via the Embraer 175 jets that are designed with 12 first class seats, 16 Economy Plus coach seats with extra legroom, 48 coach seats and larger overhead bins. The airplanes – which are scheduled to be delivered through 2014 and 2015 – will be part of the United Express fleet.

United Continental is making continued progress in revamping its fleet structure along with network expansion and launch of newer and innovative on-board products and services in both domestic and international flights. These initiatives are expected to enhance the performance level of the company by trimming its maintenance and operating costs plus rendering smooth air travel for flyers.

With the target to expand its operational wings far and wide, United Continental is expanding its global route network. The company is launching various non-stop flights across many international spots.

Last week, United Continental introduced a daily nonstop service between San Francisco and Paris. The carrier will commence the service with The Boeing Company’s (BA) 767-300 aircraft, the BusinessFirst cabin passengers of which will have the luxury of touchscreen monitors for personal in-flight entertainment, electrical and USB outlets, iPod jacks and five-course meals with high-quality wines.

This service connecting the U.S. Bay Area and one of the world’s topmost leisure destinations is not only expected to be in high demand from tourists but will also fortify the company’s operating base in the West Coast.

United Continental, which operates in the airline industry with the likes of Delta Air Lines (DAL) and Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV), currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) rating.
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