United Airlines plans to add Boeing 787 pilots to its base at Los Angeles International airport (LAX), as it continues deploying the aircraft on routes to Asia.
Subsidiary Continental captains and first officers will fly the aircraft when the base opens, confirms the Chicago-based carrier. A timeline when that will occur has not been set.
“Our 2014 international schedule has the 787 flying many routes to Asia,” said Howard Attarian, senior vice-president of flight operations at United, in a September letter to the flight operations group. “In August, we told you that we believe this amount of flying warrants a west coast 787 base to reliably support our network. We have decided that LAX is the right location for this 787 base.”
The pilot base will be the carrier’s first for the Dreamliner outside Houston Intercontinental since it started flying the aircraft in November 2012.
United is rapidly growing its 787 network to Asia-Pacific. It currently flies the aircraft from Los Angeles to both Shanghai Pudong and Tokyo Narita, and from Denver to Tokyo, and is scheduled to place it on flights from Seattle to Tokyo in February 2014 and from San Francisco to Osaka in April 2014.
United will launch new service on a 787 between San Francisco and Chengdu, China, in June 2014.
The airline also flies the aircraft between Houston and Lagos, Nigeria – its only non-Asia international route for the type.
United has seven 787-8s in its fleet and orders for another 13, Flightglobal’s Ascend Online database shows. It also has orders for 25 787-9s and 20 787-10s, as well as options for 50 787-8s.
The carrier’s pilot base at LAX includes Airbus A319 and A320, Boeing 747, Boeing 757 and Boeing 777 cockpit crews.
No other changes, including closing the 747 base after flights to Australia shift to 777s in April 2014, are planned for the LAX pilot base, says United.