United’s Dreamliner top-up

United Airlines has ordered more 787-9s, of which the airline already operates 25 examples. Boeing

United Airlines has placed another repeat order for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and announced how it plans to use its new 787-10s, which it will put into service in a few months’ time.

United, the world’s third-largest airline by both leet size and passenger numbers, was an early 787 operator back in 2011 and by the end of this year will have 40 Dreamliners in its leet. (By October it had received 25 787-9s and 12 787-8s.) The carrier has another 24 on order, that backlog recently having been boosted by the order of a further nine 787-9s. The company said it expects to begin taking delivery of these additional aircraft in 2020.

Meanwhile, United has announced it will put the latest 787-10 variant into service on January 7, 2019, on select transcontinental lights between New York Newark and Los Angeles and San Francisco. The airline’s most recently updated schedule has increased the number of daily lights between New York and LA and San Francisco to 27. The 787-10 is to be used initially on the 07:00hrs and 16:00 departures from Newark to LA and on the 16:00hrs light to San Francisco, with the other departures continuing to be served by a mix of Boeing 777-200ERs and 757-200s.

United is not the first carrier in North America to use Dreamliners for transcontinental services, American Airlines having this year operated 787s on routes from Dallas/Ft Worth to LA and San Francisco. However, United will be the first airline in the region to operate the 787-10. (It is the only customer in the area for the variant so far.)

The 787-10 is 18ft (5.4m) longer than the 787-9, thanks to the addition of five frame bays forward of the wing and four frame bays aft. Boeing has designed the 787-10 to allow airlines to provide extra capacity on popular trunk routes, its 330 seats in a standard three-class layout ofering a 14% increase on a 787-9’s seat capacity. United’s 787-10s will be conigured with 318 seats. The 787-10’s use by United on key routes between the eastern and western coasts of the United States should be an interesting test of this third Dreamliner variant’s capabilities.