United sells 22 planes to Bank of China Aviation

HONG KONG (Reuters) - United Airlines UAL.O will sell and lease back 22 planes to Bank of China (BOC) Aviation, a statement from the aircraft investor released to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange said on Sunday.

The deal involves six Boeing 787-9 aircraft and 16 Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft from United Airlines, the statement said.

The Singapore-based BOC Aviation did not reveal how much the purchase was worth but said the planes would be leased back to United on long-term agreements.

United said on Wednesday it had reduced its flight schedule in May by 90% and expects similar cuts for June as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. airline also said it flew less than 200,000 people in the first two weeks of April, a 97% drop from the more than 6 million people it flew during the same time in 2019.

BOC Aviation, which focuses on aircraft leasing, has a fleet of 567 planes owned, managed or on order as at the end of March, the statement said

The transaction was finalised on Friday and the deal is expected to close later this year, the statement said.

Reporting by Scott Murdoch. Editing by Jane Merriman