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United to fly Boeing Dreamliner on domestic routes – MarketWatch

August 30, 2012

United Continental Holdings Inc. UAL
+0.22% unveiled plans to begin flying its new
Boeing Co. BA
-0.85% 787 Dreamliner aircraft on domestic routes in November, ahead of
its international service launch.

“While the Dreamliner’s superior operating economics make it ideally suited for international routes, we’re pleased to have this opportunity to introduce it on domestic flights,” scheduling Managing Director Grant Whitney said.

United had previously revealed that its international service will begin in December and January. The airline said it expects to take delivery of the first five new Dreamliners this year from its total order for 50 of these aircraft.

As the initial aircraft join the fleet, they will be based at the Houston hub and begin flying to other domestic hubs beginning Nov. 4.

Operational problems have dogged the airline in recent months and left its performance trailing rivals. The transition that created the world’s largest airline by traffic has triggered a succession of teething problems as executives sought to combine computer and reservation systems, revamp its frequent-flyer program and deliver promised synergies.

Last month United’s head, Jeff Smisek, apologized for causing customer disservice.

Continuing labor unrest has also dogged the airline, countering the tailwind from the recent drop in fuel prices and a robust outlook for domestic and international demand that has helped lift revenue across the airline industry to record levels.

Recently, United reported that it had narrowed its second-quarter profit, weighed down by one-time merger integration costs, disappointing revenue gains and poor operational performance.

Shares closed at $18.33 Wednesday and were inactive premarket. The stock is off 24% in the past three months.


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