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AirlineBob
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United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:10 pm

Saw this in the United Fleet/Network Thread, and thought it worthy of highlighting. At the beginning of the month, United sent two A320s to the boneyard in Goodyear AZ. These were both early 1996 airframes (23 years old).

While United has been adding to their A319/A320 fleet in recent years via used aircraft acquisitions, United's original Airbus fleet consisted of 152 aircraft delivered from the factory between 1993 and 2002.

It's amazing to think of everything United's Airbus fleet has been through between 1993 and now. Those aircraft saw good days and bad. When the airline was flush with money, and when it went through a lengthy bankruptcy. Rumors of various mergers and acquisitions until the ultimate merger with Continetnal in the early 2010s.

Not sure how their usage has varied over time, but lately, it seems like United has utilized their Airbus fleet as a workhorse for secondary stations. Bouncing between hubs and smaller outlying fields for four, five, and sometimes six legs a day.

And now, N430UA and N431UA are leading the way into retirement. After 23 years of service, I'm assuming they're headed for retirement due to reaching the end of the original design service life, and United doesn't deem it cost-effective to put in the money for a life extension.

Either way, a milestone for United and their Airbus fleet.
 
Deltabravo1123
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:30 pm

I think the size and versatility of United's Airbus fleet is often underestimated. They definitely have more 737s overall, but the A319s and A320s are indeed an invaluable asset to United. Some people will disagree, but if you look at the utilization of those planes, you can see that they serve a very important role for UA. As you said, they've seen some tough times, but UA wouldn't be the same airline without them!!
 
AA737-823
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:42 pm

I thought Airbus had upped the LOV on these planes by a pretty significant margin.
That said, I'm puzzled as to why UA parked these two at all. 23 isn't THAT old. And, as mentioned, they're taking second hand aircraft, so it's not like they're trying to get out of the fleet altogether.
TOO SOON! lol
 
jetmatt777
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:57 pm

I’m sure someone has more specific information, however I remember reading the ones chosen for retirement were the ones that had the highest maintenance costs, not necessarily age. Out of 100+ airplanes some will not age as gracefully as the others.

Remember the Airbus fleet was severely neglected leading up to the merger as UA didn’t have the money to maintain them as well as they should have. The first few years of the merger were rough as the Airbus fleet had terrible reliability, after the merger UA invested a lot of money to bring them up to par and extend the life.
 
dcajet
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:13 pm

Most likely they were due for a major check; expense that may be deemed not worthy given the expected remaining useful economic life of the frames.
Keep calm and wash your hands.
 
maps4ltd
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:25 pm

Delta's still running some A320 frames from the early '90s.
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ericm2031
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:41 pm

Are these being sold or parted out for spares?
 
LGeneReese
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:51 pm

ericm2031 wrote:
Are these being sold or parted out for spares?

I would think the better value would be parts/spares... Who knows... :wave: :chat:
 
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Spacepope
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:24 pm

AirlineBob wrote:
Saw this in the United Fleet/Network Thread, and thought it worthy of highlighting. At the beginning of the month, United sent two A320s to the boneyard in Goodyear AZ. These were both early 1996 airframes (23 years old).

While United has been adding to their A319/A320 fleet in recent years via used aircraft acquisitions, United's original Airbus fleet consisted of 152 aircraft delivered from the factory between 1993 and 2002.

It's amazing to think of everything United's Airbus fleet has been through between 1993 and now. Those aircraft saw good days and bad. When the airline was flush with money, and when it went through a lengthy bankruptcy. Rumors of various mergers and acquisitions until the ultimate merger with Continetnal in the early 2010s.

Not sure how their usage has varied over time, but lately, it seems like United has utilized their Airbus fleet as a workhorse for secondary stations. Bouncing between hubs and smaller outlying fields for four, five, and sometimes six legs a day.

And now, N430UA and N431UA are leading the way into retirement. After 23 years of service, I'm assuming they're headed for retirement due to reaching the end of the original design service life, and United doesn't deem it cost-effective to put in the money for a life extension.

Either way, a milestone for United and their Airbus fleet.

How do you know this isn’t just for heavy mx? They both have less than 80,000 hours and around 30,000 cycles.
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CriticalPoint
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:51 pm

Spacepope wrote:
AirlineBob wrote:
Saw this in the United Fleet/Network Thread, and thought it worthy of highlighting. At the beginning of the month, United sent two A320s to the boneyard in Goodyear AZ. These were both early 1996 airframes (23 years old).

While United has been adding to their A319/A320 fleet in recent years via used aircraft acquisitions, United's original Airbus fleet consisted of 152 aircraft delivered from the factory between 1993 and 2002.

It's amazing to think of everything United's Airbus fleet has been through between 1993 and now. Those aircraft saw good days and bad. When the airline was flush with money, and when it went through a lengthy bankruptcy. Rumors of various mergers and acquisitions until the ultimate merger with Continetnal in the early 2010s.

Not sure how their usage has varied over time, but lately, it seems like United has utilized their Airbus fleet as a workhorse for secondary stations. Bouncing between hubs and smaller outlying fields for four, five, and sometimes six legs a day.

And now, N430UA and N431UA are leading the way into retirement. After 23 years of service, I'm assuming they're headed for retirement due to reaching the end of the original design service life, and United doesn't deem it cost-effective to put in the money for a life extension.

Either way, a milestone for United and their Airbus fleet.

How do you know this isn’t just for heavy mx? They both have less than 80,000 hours and around 30,000 cycles.


They have been removed from the fleet and will be scrapped.
 
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NWAROOSTER
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sat Oct 26, 2019 10:25 pm

Both 430UA and N431UA are leased from US Bank. Maybe their leases are up and United can't continue leasing them at rates that United considers favorable. :old:
Procrastination Is The Theft Of Time.......
 
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lightsaber
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sat Oct 26, 2019 10:30 pm

AA737-823 wrote:
I thought Airbus had upped the LOV on these planes by a pretty significant margin.
That said, I'm puzzled as to why UA parked these two at all. 23 isn't THAT old. And, as mentioned, they're taking second hand aircraft, so it's not like they're trying to get out of the fleet altogether.
TOO SOON! lol

In no way was N431UA at the limit. In February 2018 was the last reportable maintenance incident:

https://av-info.faa.gov/sdrx/Query.aspx

73,000 hours and 28,000 cycles is nothing.

Extrapolating, it might be at 80,000 FH and 33,000 FC. My rule of thumb is a narrowbody heavy maintenance visit is only worth it foe 15,000+ remaining FC and 20,000+ FH. Since these frames look to have over 30,000 FC and 40,000 FH, it must be the value as parts. These should have been economical to fly aircraft, even if heavy maintenance was due.

Lightsaber

Late edit: I just saw these are leased. It could be UA offered less than scrap value.
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MartijnNL
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sat Oct 26, 2019 11:00 pm

Deltabravo1123 wrote:
I think the size and versatility of United's Airbus fleet is often underestimated. They definitely have more 737s overall, but the A319s and A320s are indeed an invaluable asset to United. Some people will disagree, but if you look at the utilization of those planes, you can see that they serve a very important role for UA. As you said, they've seen some tough times, but UA wouldn't be the same airline without them!!

As demonstrated perfectly by this amazing picture:
 
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Spacepope
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:02 am

lightsaber wrote:
AA737-823 wrote:
I thought Airbus had upped the LOV on these planes by a pretty significant margin.
That said, I'm puzzled as to why UA parked these two at all. 23 isn't THAT old. And, as mentioned, they're taking second hand aircraft, so it's not like they're trying to get out of the fleet altogether.
TOO SOON! lol

In no way was N431UA at the limit. In February 2018 was the last reportable maintenance incident:

https://av-info.faa.gov/sdrx/Query.aspx

73,000 hours and 28,000 cycles is nothing.

Extrapolating, it might be at 80,000 FH and 33,000 FC. My rule of thumb is a narrowbody heavy maintenance visit is only worth it foe 15,000+ remaining FC and 20,000+ FH. Since these frames look to have over 30,000 FC and 40,000 FH, it must be the value as parts. These should have been economical to fly aircraft, even if heavy maintenance was due.

Lightsaber

Late edit: I just saw these are leased. It could be UA offered less than scrap value.

There was a white paper out last year claiming even though the LOV was extended, basically all the value on these early builds are just in their engines.
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adamblang
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:36 am

MartijnNL wrote:
As demonstrated perfectly by this amazing picture:

That is a great photo! Thanks for sharing!
 
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intotheair
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:44 am

maps4ltd wrote:
Delta's still running some A320 frames from the early '90s.


Hasn't DL retired a handful of early A319/320s as well? I know AA has.
300 319 320 321 332 333 345 346 380 717 733 734 735 73G 738 739 744 752 753 762 763 772 77W 788 789 CR2 CR7 CR9 CRK Q400 E175 DC10 MD82 MD90
AA AF AS AY AZ B6 BA BR DL F9 FI GA HA KF LH MI QX SK SN SQ UA US VY WN
 
MIflyer12
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 2:18 am

intotheair wrote:
maps4ltd wrote:
Delta's still running some A320 frames from the early '90s.


Hasn't DL retired a handful of early A319/320s as well? I know AA has.


DL retired 7 A320s at the 26-27 year mark a couple of years ago but continues to fly ~40 more at that age. None of DL's A320s has hit 30.0 years yet.
 
Aptivaboy
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 2:54 am

Awesome photo! Very cool.

Thank you.
 
AA737-823
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 6:57 am

lightsaber wrote:
In no way was N431UA at the limit


Oh, I didn't mean to say that I thought they were at the limit; I simply meant that, since Airbus had extended the life on the planes, I am surprised to see them retired now.
When AA retired the ex-Braniff A320's, I was not at all shocked. Those things were line number in the double-digits, as I recall.
But you and others have come up with some reasons why UA might be looking to offload a specific bird or two.
I just think it's odd, parts value or not, to be buying used A320s (and going through the tremendous expense of inducting and bridging), while you park your own A320s!
 
LGeneReese
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:06 am

AA737-823 wrote:
lightsaber wrote:
In no way was N431UA at the limit


Oh, I didn't mean to say that I thought they were at the limit; I simply meant that, since Airbus had extended the life on the planes, I am surprised to see them retired now.
When AA retired the ex-Braniff A320's, I was not at all shocked. Those things were line number in the double-digits, as I recall.
But you and others have come up with some reasons why UA might be looking to offload a specific bird or two.
I just think it's odd, parts value or not, to be buying used A320s (and going through the tremendous expense of inducting and bridging), while you park your own A320s!

I’m sure there is some financial bean counter in Willis Tower that would be happy to show us a ten page analyst as to why this was the proper course of action in this situation. :box: :splat:
 
jayunited
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:41 pm

AA737-823 wrote:
Oh, I didn't mean to say that I thought they were at the limit; I simply meant that, since Airbus had extended the life on the planes, I am surprised to see them retired now.
When AA retired the ex-Braniff A320's, I was not at all shocked. Those things were line number in the double-digits, as I recall.
But you and others have come up with some reasons why UA might be looking to offload a specific bird or two.
I just think it's odd, parts value or not, to be buying used A320s (and going through the tremendous expense of inducting and bridging), while you park your own A320s!


The retirement of 4 A320 frames was announced back in early 2018. UA has a quite a few used A319/20s coming, many between the age of 11-15 years old. When s-UA parked all of our 737s the Airbus fleet became the backbone of our narrowbody fleet together with a ton of RJ’s. The Airbus fleet was beat down UA never put an unsafe aircraft in the air just so we are clear but at the same time UA didn’t invest a dime in the fleet. It’s was until after the merger with the then combined UA saw the condition of these aircraft and investing in a life extension program but some Airbuses were in worst shape than others. Right now UA has a lot of used Airbuses sitting on the ground in Asia, Europe and a few here in the U.S. waiting to go through induction. However before induction can happen every bit on maintenance that was performed must be gone over in detail and that takes time.
 
alpine1989
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:48 pm

United will also start taking delivery of 19 used B737-700 soon. I believe they are coming from Southwest.

https://simpleflying.com/united-boeing-737-order/
 
AirlineBob
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:12 pm

jayunited wrote:
but some Airbuses were in worst shape than others.


I hear stuff like this, but always wonder about what exactly it means.

Did these aircraft have more corrosion than the rest of the fleet? Or corrosion in some harder-to-fix places? Or just higher-than-average maintenance costs over time?
 
jetmatt777
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:50 pm

AirlineBob wrote:
jayunited wrote:
but some Airbuses were in worst shape than others.


I hear stuff like this, but always wonder about what exactly it means.

Did these aircraft have more corrosion than the rest of the fleet? Or corrosion in some harder-to-fix places? Or just higher-than-average maintenance costs over time?


Think of it like your car. The fuel pump installed from the factory is good for 120,000 miles. Other owners of your make and model report the fuel pump going out at around 100,000 miles. You being a responsible owner who doesn’t want to be stranded on the side of the road hears of this, and as your car is at 98,000 miles you tell your mechanic to install a new fuel pump.

Your neighbor who has the same make and model doesn’t have the money for preventative maintenance so he waits for the pump to fail before considering a replacement.

It’s not a terrific example, but the investment in preventative maintenance costs more up front but saves times and money in the long run. If you don’t have the money for preventative maintenance you will have greater downtime and more expense in rushed parts orders.
 
dcajet
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:24 pm

alpine1989 wrote:
United will also start taking delivery of 19 used B737-700 soon. I believe they are coming from Southwest.

https://simpleflying.com/united-boeing-737-order/


Indeed, they are 19 relatively "newish" frames that Southwest obtained with the AirTran purchase... which makes me wonder if their arrival at United will be delayed with the MAX issues on Southwest's end.
Keep calm and wash your hands.
 
jetmatt777
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:42 pm

dcajet wrote:
alpine1989 wrote:
United will also start taking delivery of 19 used B737-700 soon. I believe they are coming from Southwest.

https://simpleflying.com/united-boeing-737-order/


Indeed, they are 19 relatively "newish" frames that Southwest obtained with the AirTran purchase... which makes me wonder if their arrival at United will be delayed with the MAX issues on Southwest's end.


Nope - they are already starting to be prepared for delivery.
 
SFOtoORD
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:57 pm

dcajet wrote:
alpine1989 wrote:
United will also start taking delivery of 19 used B737-700 soon. I believe they are coming from Southwest.

https://simpleflying.com/united-boeing-737-order/


Indeed, they are 19 relatively "newish" frames that Southwest obtained with the AirTran purchase... which makes me wonder if their arrival at United will be delayed with the MAX issues on Southwest's end.


It was mentioned in the fleet thread that the first one is already on property at UA.
 
strfyr51
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 5:11 pm

AirlineBob wrote:
Saw this in the United Fleet/Network Thread, and thought it worthy of highlighting. At the beginning of the month, United sent two A320s to the boneyard in Goodyear AZ. These were both early 1996 airframes (23 years old).

While United has been adding to their A319/A320 fleet in recent years via used aircraft acquisitions, United's original Airbus fleet consisted of 152 aircraft delivered from the factory between 1993 and 2002.

It's amazing to think of everything United's Airbus fleet has been through between 1993 and now. Those aircraft saw good days and bad. When the airline was flush with money, and when it went through a lengthy bankruptcy. Rumors of various mergers and acquisitions until the ultimate merger with Continetnal in the early 2010s.

Not sure how their usage has varied over time, but lately, it seems like United has utilized their Airbus fleet as a workhorse for secondary stations. Bouncing between hubs and smaller outlying fields for four, five, and sometimes six legs a day.

And now, N430UA and N431UA are leading the way into retirement. After 23 years of service, I'm assuming they're headed for retirement due to reaching the end of the original design service life, and United doesn't deem it cost-effective to put in the money for a life extension.

Either way, a milestone for United and their Airbus fleet.
lredyMany of the original batch of A320's have already had life extensions, Another may not be economically smart.
 
CriticalPoint
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 5:54 pm

dcajet wrote:
alpine1989 wrote:
United will also start taking delivery of 19 used B737-700 soon. I believe they are coming from Southwest.

https://simpleflying.com/united-boeing-737-order/


Indeed, they are 19 relatively "newish" frames that Southwest obtained with the AirTran purchase... which makes me wonder if their arrival at United will be delayed with the MAX issues on Southwest's end.


You can’t just delay a lease return.......
 
AirlineBob
Topic Author
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 6:22 pm

jetmatt777 wrote:
Think of it like your car.........


Was more wondering along the lines of why UA chose those two airframes to retire first, when they are several A320s in their fleet that are older. Was there something particularly bad about those two frames?

Or perhaps did UA just decide they weren't going to do heavy checks on A320s older than X, and those frames were the first to come up on check?
 
SFOtoORD
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:01 pm

AirlineBob wrote:
jetmatt777 wrote:
Think of it like your car.........


Was more wondering along the lines of why UA chose those two airframes to retire first, when they are several A320s in their fleet that are older. Was there something particularly bad about those two frames?

Or perhaps did UA just decide they weren't going to do heavy checks on A320s older than X, and those frames were the first to come up on check?


Probably end of lease, upcoming heavy check and perhaps the ability to acquire lower cycle time used A320s for cheaper.
 
flight152
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:10 pm

SFOtoORD wrote:
AirlineBob wrote:
jetmatt777 wrote:
Think of it like your car.........


Was more wondering along the lines of why UA chose those two airframes to retire first, when they are several A320s in their fleet that are older. Was there something particularly bad about those two frames?

Or perhaps did UA just decide they weren't going to do heavy checks on A320s older than X, and those frames were the first to come up on check?


Probably end of lease, upcoming heavy check and perhaps the ability to acquire lower cycle time used A320s for cheaper.

I don’t believe these aircraft are leased.
 
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Spacepope
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Re: United A320 N430UA and N431UA Retirements

Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:20 pm

flight152 wrote:
SFOtoORD wrote:
AirlineBob wrote:

Was more wondering along the lines of why UA chose those two airframes to retire first, when they are several A320s in their fleet that are older. Was there something particularly bad about those two frames?

Or perhaps did UA just decide they weren't going to do heavy checks on A320s older than X, and those frames were the first to come up on check?


Probably end of lease, upcoming heavy check and perhaps the ability to acquire lower cycle time used A320s for cheaper.

I don’t believe these aircraft are leased.

N430UA's owner changed on July 2, 2019 from U S BANK NA TRUSTEE to United Airlines
N431UA same as above, except ownership changed on July 3
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