United Airlines confirms it is reintroducing the Boeing 787 to U.S. domestic service on May 20 and on long-haul, international flights on June 10.
The airline has scheduled commercial flights with its Boeing 787s to begin on May 20 on routes from Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport to other domestic hubs.
United Airlines will begin international 787 flying on the Denver-Tokyo route on June 10.
All 50 Boeing 787 widebodies in service were grounded by the FAA on January 15 following unrelated battery fires and smoke incidents in a Japan Airlines Boeing 787-8 at Boston Logan International Airport on January 9 and in an All Nippon Airways 787-8 in the skies over Japan on January 15.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) still has not determined the exact cause of the Japan Airlines battery fire, which affected the aft battery. That battery located in the aft avionics compartment in the lower fuselage near the midsection of the aircraft, just behind the wing.
However, the NTSB has conclusively determined that the fire began with a short-circuit in cell number six of the battery’s eight closely packed lithium cobalt oxide cells.
The Japanese Transportation Safety Board (JTSB) is responsible for determining the cause and safety findings of the ANA battery-smoke incident over Japan. The aircraft made an emergency landing and all aboard survived. The smoke incident affected the main battery, housed in the main avionics bay below the flight deck.
Despite the NTSB’s and JTSB’s inability to find conclusively the exact cause of the fires to date, last month the FAA approved substantial battery- and battery-compartment modifications proposed by Boeing designed to make future battery fires impossible to start and impossible to spread if ever one were actually to start in the future.
Boeing immediately began installing the new battery modifications in the 50 already-delivered 787s.
On April 27 Ethiopian Airlines became the first airline to begin operating its Boeing 787s commercially again after the grounding and Qatar Airways quickly followed suit.
To date Boeing has modified two of United’s six delivered Dreamliners to the new FAA standards and will soon convert the remainder of United’s fleet.
“Our customers responded extremely well when we introduced the 787, and we know they’ll welcome it back,” says Pete McDonald, United’s chief operations officer. “Boeing and the FAA were diligent in their work to fix the battery issue.”
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