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United to debut 787-10 on Newark-LAX flights in January

United Airlines will debut the longest variant of the Boeing 787 family at its Newark Liberty hub in January, ending months of speculation on where it would fly the new aircraft first.

The 787-10 is scheduled to enter service with the Star Alliance carrier on flights between Newark and Los Angeles on 7 January, initially operating six-times weekly, FlightGlobal schedules data updated overnight on 28 September shows. United will expand its 787-10 network to include flights between Newark and San Francisco from 14 February.

The initial schedules for the latest Dreamliner, which United will configure with 318 seats including its new Polaris business class and Premium Plus premium economy seats, could change before January.

United has orders for 14 787-10s, with the first three due by the end of this year, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows. It operates 12 787-8s and 25 -9s with orders for another four -9s.

The airline has not previously said where it will fly or base the 787-10. It will likely shift the aircraft to transatlantic routes following the initial domestic proving runs, as it did with the Boeing 777-300ER that it introduced on the San Francisco-Newark route a month before moving it to the San Francisco-Hong Kong route in early 2017.

"They're a phenomenal European airplane," said Scott Kirby, president of United, on the 787-10 in August. "They will almost certainly fly a lot of Chicago, Newark and [Washington] Dulles to Europe."

In an internal memo to pilots earlier in September, United outlined plans to open a 787 crew base at Newark, where it does not currently fly the Dreamliner, and fly the aircraft on "six international Atlantic routes" in its summer 2019 schedule, which begins on 31 March 2019.

The memo did not indicate whether those routes would be operated by the -10 or one of the smaller 787 variants in United's fleet.

Schedules data only shows United operating 787s on flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco from Newark through August 2019. However, the carrier has time to adjust the aircraft operating a flight before the summer schedule begins.

United is the first North American operator of the 787-10, following Singapore Airlines as the launch operator of the type in April. The aircraft is 11m longer than the baseline 787-8 with a range of 6,430nm.

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