CHICAGO May 20 United Airlines said on Monday
it expects to have its entire fleet of Boeing 787
Dreamliners back in service this week, as the airline's first
flight with the new jetliner in four months landed safely in
"Every new airplane has issues," United CEO Jeff Smisek said
after the flight landed ahead of schedule. "We've worked with
Boeing to fix them. We're very confident."
Smisek and Boeing CEO Jim McNerney were on the flight from
Houston on Monday. Regulators grounded the Dreamliner worldwide
on Jan. 16 after batteries burned on two jets, prompting Boeing
to redesign the battery system.
The Dreamliner is the first aircraft to use an extensive
electrical system to replace hydraulics and to use a carbon
fiber composite structure. It is expected to burn 20 percent
less fuel, offer more cabin comfort for passengers than
traditional jets and is a game-changer for airlines and Boeing's
competition with European plane maker Airbus.
Smisek said the return to service of United's fleet of six
787s will allow it to operate additional flights between Houston
and other domestic hub cities, including Chicago, Newark and
Bill Blocker, captain on the 787 flight, said the aircraft
flew without any incidents.
"The 787 is not built for short flights," he said. "The
composite structure makes the aircraft lighter and more fuel
efficient and ... smoother ride."