It’s Going to Take up to 7 Years to Repaint United’s Entire Fleet

Apr 24, 2019

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United’s new extra-blue livery is officially official — yes, for the second time. After a leaked image prompted United Airlines to unveil its brand-new design ahead of schedule last night, CEO Oscar Munoz and hundreds of other employees gathered at a Chicago O’Hare hangar to show off the first repainted plane earlier Wednesday.

As expected — well, confirmed, even — United’s ditching the familiar gold, instead opting to deck out the fleet entirely in shades of blue. A thin blue “swoop” will be used across all aircraft types, replacing a similar element found on current 787 Dreamliners and 737 MAX planes.

The all-caps United text remains on both the port and starboard sides, but it’s far larger, lower and more prominent here. The globe tail is also getting a tweak, with gold accents being removed there, and the engines are also highlighted with a bright coat of blue.

So far, only one aircraft sports the new paint job — N37267, a Boeing 737-800. That plane will make its way to Los Angeles (LAX) Wednesday night before participating in an air-to-air photo shoot later this week. It’s expected to re-enter service next week, so at least some passengers will fly on a plane with the new design very soon.

As for the rest of the fleet, United’s still working through its repainting plans, but expects the process to take between five and seven years — the current gold livery could continue flying through 2026. And that makes sense, considering that the airline currently operates a fleet of nearly 800 planes, not including regional jets. New additions will come out of the factory with the new colors, too, with the exception of aircraft that are set to be delivered over the next few weeks.

All photos by the author

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