Following several months on the ground in the wake of widely publicized problems with the airplane’s lithium-ion battery, Boeing 787 Dreamliners have begun to return to service. United Airlines’ (Chicago, Ill.) first re-entered passenger service on May 20, making a flight from Houston, Texas, to Chicago. The Boeing Co.’s Everett, Wash., facility had already converted two of United’s six Dreamliners to the new U.S. Federal Aviation Admin. (FAA) battery standards and will soon convert the remainder of United’s fleet. The airline scheduled flights to begin on May 20 on routes from Houston to other domestic hubs. United began international 787 flights on the Denver to Tokyo route on June 10.
Commenting on the 787’s return, Pete McDonald, United’s chief operations officer, noted, “Our customers responded extremely well when we introduced the 787, and we know they’ll welcome it back.” He also expressed confidence in the rehabilitation process: “Boeing and the FAA were diligent in their work to fix the battery issue,” he observed, “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.”
Boeing, also confident about the battery fix, reported on May 9 that it had rolled out of the factory the first 787 Dreamliner to be built at the increased production rate of seven airplanes per month. The airplane is the 114th 787 to be built, overall, and the 100th assembled at the Everett factory. The company says its 787 program is still on track to achieve its planned 10-per-month rate by year’s end. The production rate accounts for airplanes built at the Everett Final Assembly facility, the Everett Temporary Surge Line and the Boeing South Carolina facility in North Charleston, S.C. To date, a total of 50 787s have been delivered to eight airlines. A video on the rate increase can be found at http://bit.ly/12iSIHa.