United Airlines first U.S. firm to fly Dreamliner
Nov. 6, 2012, Chicago, Il. - United Airlines has become the first US airline to fly passengers on the composite plastic fuselage aircraft Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The flight, United Flight 1116, took off from Houston Bush
Intercontinental Airport and landed at Chicago's O'Hare International
Airport on 4 November.
The carrier, which has received two 787s
from its order for 50 aircraft, is set to use the Dreamliner from the
Los Angeles International Airport for daily trips to Narita, Japan,
beginning 3 January 2013, and add non-stop flights to Shanghai starting
on 30 March 2013.
Expected to replace the Boeing 777
on these routes, the Dreamliner configuration for United Airlines
features 219 seats, with 36 in business class and the rest in economy.
order to complete the certification process required by the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA), the carrier put the Dreamliner into
non-commercial service in September.
Although United Airlines is
the first US carrier to fly the 787 Dreamliner, Japan's All Nippon
Airways was the first airline to introduce it into commercial service in
The production of the twin-aisle aircraft has been dogged by delay
problems; All Nippon Airways, which was the launch customer, took
delivery of the first Dreamliner in late 2011, almost three years after
the scheduled date.
Delays in production have occurred from Boeing
having to fix quality problems, as the aircraft uses more lightweight
composite materials instead of aluminium in the fuselage and wings.
primarily of carbon composites, the lighter weight 787 features
improved aerodynamics and advanced engine technology, and according to
Boeing, it uses 20% less fuel and is less expensive to maintain than the
rival aircraft in the segment.
Boeing is currently working with
the FAA to get certification for communication equipment for broadband
facility on a composite aircraft.
The aeroplane manufacturer plans
to ramp up its production to five Dreamliners a month as a part of its
efforts to manufacture ten 787s a month by the end of 2013; and as part
of this plan, it opened a facility in South Carolina in 2011.