April 9 United Airlines said on Tuesday that it
planned to begin flying Boeing's 787 Dreamliner five days sooner
than previously expected, a sign of confidence in the jet's
return to service after regulators grounded it in January over
United, a unit of United Continental Holdings Inc,
said it planned to use Boeing's newest jet on its
Denver-Houston route starting May 31 and on the Denver-Tokyo's
Narita route beginning on June 10.
The airline will make additional schedule changes as the
timeline for certification and modification work becomes
clearer, spokeswoman Christen David said.
David could not provide further details or say why the
airline moved up its scheduled use of the jet. She also did not
say would happen if the jet is not ready for use by May 31.
In February, United dropped the Dreamliner from its schedule
through June 5, except for a Denver-Tokyo route tentatively
scheduled for May. Many of the eight other airlines that own the
jet also dropped it from their schedules.
Regulators banned the Dreamliner from flight on Jan. 16
after lithium-ion batteries overheated on two jets that month.
The jet has not flown commercial service since.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration gave Boeing
permission for a single "ferry" flight on Feb. 7 and on March 12
allowed the company to conduct a body of tests designed to show
its redesigned battery system was safe.
On Friday, Boeing made a test flight with the modified
system, completing initial testing of it.
The FAA said on Monday that it expected formal data from
Boeing's tests to arrive shortly. Boeing declined to say whether
it had submitted the data.
"While testing is completed, we are engaged with the FAA to
reply to additional requests and continue dialog to ensure we
have met all of their expectations," Boeing spokesman Marc
It was not clear if other airlines are scheduling 787
LOT Polish Airways said it would not fly the jet
until October. Japan's All Nippon Airways, the largest
787 owner, said late last month that it also was taking
reservations for flights on the jet for June, but might decide
to use different planes.
Shares of United Continental were up 0.1 percent at $30.10
in midday trading, while Boeing fell 0.4 percent to $86.40.