United Airlines is finalising plans to open a Boeing 787 pilot base at its Newark Liberty hub, a precursor to beginning Dreamliner flying from the airport in 2019.

The Chicago-based carrier will open 787 positions at Newark for pilots to bid on beginning in September, says United managing director of crew resources Paul Carlson in a newsletter to pilots on 1 August. More details on operations from Newark, including which aircraft variants and what routes they will fly, will be forthcoming later in August, he says.

“We are evaluating using the 787 flying out of Newark in the future and are in the early stages of planning for that by ensuring we have proper pilot staffing allocated at the right time," says United on the newsletter, adding that details have not been finalised.

Carlson previously told pilots in May that United was considering opening a 787 base at Newark around April 2019, with an eye on placing its new 787-10s there.

"I am unable to provide specific EWR 787 mission details; but for now, note that the 787-10 is well-suited for European destinations," he said at the time.

United will take delivery of its first three of 14 787-10s later this year, with plans to place them in service in early 2019. The aircraft will be configured with 318 seats, including 41 Polaris business, 21 premium economy, 45 extra-legroom economy and 208 economy.

The airline operates 12 787-8s and 25 787-9s, and has four more -9s on order in addition to the -10s, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows.

The 787-10 is widely viewed as a good aircraft for higher-density routes where airlines do not need the additional range of either of the smaller Dreamliner variants but seek improved economics.

"The 787-10 represents our largest variant, it simply sets the bar as the most efficient twin-aisle in its class on a cost per seat mile basis," said Kevin McCallister, president and chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, at the delivery of the first 787-10 to Singapore Airlines in March.

The aircraft are also popular with customers for a variety of reasons, including their larger windows and lower cabin pressure that is understood to reduce the impact of jetlag.

United flies its 787s on a range of medium- to ultra-long-haul routes from its Denver, Houston Intercontinental, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington Dulles hubs. The aircraft allowed the airline to launch one of the world's longest nonstop flights to Singapore from San Francisco, while also performing well on transatlantic routes like Paris to Washington Dulles.

Newark will join Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dulles among 787 pilot bases at United.

Dreamliners will not be a new sight at Newark. Eight carriers fly the aircraft to the New York City-area airport, including Air China from Beijing, British Airways from London Heathrow and Norwegian from three points in Europe, FlightGlobal schedules show.

Source: Cirium Dashboard