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United Airlines Prepares To Reintroduce The Boeing 787 Flights
By Jim Douglas

May 14, 2013 - United Airlines is preparing to reintroduce Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights, bringing back the world's most advanced and efficient aircraft on domestic and international routes.

"Our customers responded extremely well when we introduced the 787, and we know they'll welcome it back," said Pete McDonald, United's chief operations officer.

"Boeing and the FAA were diligent in their work to fix the battery issue, and now the Dreamliner is poised to fly the missions we planned and provide our customers with the features and reliability they want on their long-haul flights."


Boeing already converted two of United's six Dreamliners to the new FAA standards and will soon convert the remainder of United's fleet. The airline has scheduled flights to begin on May 20 on routes from Houston to other domestic hubs. United will begin international 787 flying on the Denver-Tokyo route on June 10.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Its variants seat 210 to 290 passengers. Boeing states that it is the company's most fuel-efficient airliner and the world's first major airliner to use composite materials as the primary material in the construction of its airframe.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has suffered from early in-service problems, notably fires on board related to its lithium-ion batteries. These systems have been reviewed by both the FAA and the Japanese aviation agency. On January 16, 2013, the FAA issued an emergency airworthiness directive that grounded all 787s in the U.S.



The EASA, Japanese Transport Ministry, India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), and Chile's Dirección General de Aeronautica Civil (DGAC) followed suit and grounded the Dreamliners in their jurisdictions. After Boeing completed tests on a revised battery design, the FAA approved the revised design on April 19, 2013, and lifted the grounding on April 26, 2013. The 787 returned to passenger service on April 27, 2013 with Ethiopian Airlines.

The improved battery system includes design changes to both prevent and isolate a fault should it occur. In addition, improved production, operating and testing processes have been implemented. The new steel enclosure system is designed to keep any level of battery overheating from affecting the airplane or even being noticed by passengers.

"This is a comprehensive and permanent solution with multiple layers of protection," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. "The ultimate layer of protection is the new enclosure, which will ensure that even if a battery fails, there is no impact to the airplane and no possibility of fire”.

The 787 has been designed to be 20% more fuel efficient than the 767 it is to replace. The Dreamliner's distinguishing features include mostly electrical flight systems, a four-panel windshield, noise-reducing chevrons on its engine nacelles, and a smoother nose contour. It shares a common type rating with the larger 777 twinjet, allowing qualified pilots to operate both models, due to related design features.
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