United Airlines Unveils Launch Plans for Boeing 787 Dreamliner
By James Shillinglaw
July 09, 2012 10:53 PM
United Airlines, the North American launch customer for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, announced details about its induction of the aircraft into the company's fleet and revealed a specially designed livery for the new aircraft.
United is scheduled to take delivery of its first Dreamliner in late September. The aircraft cabin is being installed on the first aircraft, and will be configured with 36 seats in United BusinessFirst, 72 seats in Economy Plus and 111 seats in Economy. Cabin color selections use a palette of blue and grey and are consistent with other modern United aircraft.
United said its customers will experience greater comfort with improved lighting, bigger windows, larger overhead bins, lower cabin altitude and enhanced ventilation systems, among other passenger-friendly features. The 787's in-flight entertainment system features an all-new design that offers more intuitive browsing and more filtering options, giving customers the option of searching for programs by language.
The airline's 787 fleet will feature a customized livery that is exclusive to the fleet: the gold line that wraps the fuselage will swoop from nose to tail. The swoop is inspired by the trademark swoop painted on each of Boeing's aircraft and is being adopted for the United 787 in a tribute to the two companies' long history of working together.
In preparation for delivery of the first United Dreamliner, United installed a full-flight simulator at its Houston hub and is training pilots on operation of the aircraft. Flight attendants and mechanics have trained in 787 systems and operations, with additional training scheduled to continue through the remainder of the year. In addition, United is preparing to provide 787 maintenance support from its Houston base, and the airline is warehousing more than 1,180 different spare parts for easy and rapid access by its technicians.
Primarily built with composite materials, the 787 has 30 percent more range and uses approximately 20 percent less fuel than similarly-sized aircraft, while reducing emissions and noise during takeoffs and landings. Because of these advantages, the 787 will open up new non-stop destinations that customers would not be able to otherwise reach on United, such as the recently announced Denver-to-Tokyo service that starts next spring.
Following delivery of the first aircraft in September, the company will conduct a variety of tests and training, including completing Federal Aviation Administration conformity checks and proving runs. The company will then enter the 787 into scheduled service in the fall. United is planning to place five Boeing 787s into service in 2012, and has firm orders for a total of 50 new Dreamliners, with deliveries scheduled through 2019.