United to resume Dreamliner flights on May 20

NEW YORK (AFP) - United Airlines said on Monday that it would resume Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights this month after the troubled aircraft was modified to fix battery problems that led to a months-long grounding.

United, the only US airline flying the Boeing 787, said it would restart domestic Dreamliner flights beginning May 20 on routes from Houston, Texas, to other domestic hubs.

United also announced the June 10 launch of its Denver-Tokyo service using the cutting-edge Boeing plane.

In April, the Federal Aviation Administration approved Boeing's 787 battery fix to address overheating that had led to the global grounding of all 50 787s in service since mid-January.

United said Boeing had already converted two of its six Dreamliners to the new FAA standards and will soon convert the other four planes.

"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," said United chief operating officer Pete McDonald in a statement.

In January, overheated batteries had caused a fire on a 787 parked at the Boston airport and smoke that forced a 787 into an emergency landing in Japan.

The FAA's new airworthiness directive for the 787 requires the installation of modified battery packs and their respective chargers, as well as battery enclosures and ducts.

Ethiopian Airlines was the first airline to restore 787 service, on April 27. Japan's All Nippon Airways, the biggest Dreamliner customer with 17 in its fleet, said last week that it would resume flights beginning June 1.

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