United juggles 787 international schedule on reliability issues

Washington DC
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United Airlines has delayed the launch of the majority of its planned international flights on the Boeing 787, as it works with the airframer to improve aircraft reliability.

The Chicago-based Star Alliance carrier will begin flights between Los Angeles and Tokyo Narita on 3 January as planned but has delayed the launch of flights between Houston Intercontinental and Lagos, London Heathrow and Amsterdam, according to an employee newsletter. Service to Lagos will begin in "late January" instead of 3 January, London on 1 March instead of 4 February and Amsterdam on 24 February instead of 23 February.

United still plans to begin flights between Los Angeles and Shanghai Pudong on 30 March, and Denver and Tokyo Narita on 31 March.

"By delaying the LOS [Lagos] and LHR [London Heathrow] service, we will use this additional time to work with Boeing to continue to improve the reliability of the aircraft," says the airline in the newsletter.

A United 787 enroute from Houston to Newark diverted to New Orleans on 4 December due the failure of an electrical generator about 40min after take-off. The aircraft returned to service on 10 December.

Boeing and United have been investigating the cause of the failure but it is unclear as to the status of the investigation.

The airline received its sixth 787-8 from Boeing (N27901) on 27 December 2012, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database. It has orders for 50 of the type.