The Boeing Company’s (NYSE:BA) Dreamliner 787 was back in the air yesterday, following a 123-day grounding after two of the battery systems on two Japanese Airlines caught fire. The flight from Houston to Chicago landed safely Monday — and even ahead of schedule.
Though the grounding on January 16 was a considerable and expensive setback, United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek remains optimistic: “Every new airplane has issues … We’ve worked with Boeing to fix them. We’re very confident.” He and Boeing CEO Jim McNerney were among the passengers on the flight Monday, which is reported to have flown without any incidents. Upon the plane’s safe landing, United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) said it expected to have its fleet of 787 Dreamliners back in service this week, allowing United to operate additional flights between Houston and other domestic hub cities.
The Dreamliner 787 made history yesterday as it was the first commercial flight in the U.S. with more than 250 passengers on board. What else is attractive about the aviation supermodel? Not only is it expected to burn 20 percent less fuel and offer more cabin comfort, but Reuters explains that it is “the first aircraft to use an extensive electrical system to replace hydraulics and to use a carbon fiber composite structure.” Though it’s not purposed for short flights, it is more fuel efficient for long rides, and noticeably smoother.
As long as passengers are not too fearful of flying on the plane, the Dreamliner promises to transform the flying experience, as it advertises in its promotional video at the beginning of every United flight. Smisek plans to ramp up production and deliver 60 787 planes this year, if not more.
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