Boeing and United Airlines on Monday celebrated the delivery of the airline’s first 787 Dreamliner and acceptance of the first of the composite-bodied airliners by a North American customer. Scheduled to fly the airplane to its Houston base “later this week,” United plans to begin a month-long training and certification program including non-commercial flights to each of the airline’s domestic hubs before entering revenue service in the U.S. on November 4 and between Houston and Amsterdam on December 4.
On the same day, Boeing confirmed that Japan’s All Nippon Airlines ordered 11 more Dreamliners in a deal worth $2.7 billion. The follow-on contract for 11 more 787-9s takes the carrier’s total commitment to the 787 to 66, including 36 787-8s and 30 787-9s.
The first of 50 Dreamliners on order by United, the airplane carries 36 seats in United’s BusinessFirst section, 72 seats in Economy Plus and 111 seats in standard economy.
Although United has announced it will initially use the 787 on international routes to Africa, Asia and Europe, it will conduct temporary domestic flights before deploying the fleet on international service late this year.
Although the domestic flights went on sale on United’s website and distribution channels on September 1, the airline won’t announce firm plans for domestic service until later this month. A temporary schedule shows service starting on November 4 from Houston to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Newark. Later in the month, on November 10 and 17, it plans to fly a single flight from Houston to Cleveland and Washington Dulles International Airport, respectively, followed by further service to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago, as well as its first temporary service to Denver, on December 5. Its schedule shows Houston-Denver as the only indefinite domestic service, starting March 31.
Plans for international service call for daily flights from Los Angeles to Tokyo Narita International Airport to start on January 3, service five days a week between Houston and Lagos to start January 7, another Amsterdam-Houston service to start on February 4, daily service from Los Angeles to Shanghai on March 30 and flights between Denver and to Tokyo Narita on March 31.
United expects to take delivery of all 50 Dreamliners on order by 2019. Boeing pilots conducted the first production flight of the first United 787, powered by General Electric GEnx-1B engines, on August 19. The aircraft took off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., and flew for more than three hours around the Seattle area while crewmembers checked the performance of cabin pressurization, avionics, navigation and communications systems.