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United Sees Resuming Some 787 Flights Ahead of Plan

United Continental Holdings Inc., the only U.S. carrier with Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner, expects to resume service earlier than planned with a May 31 flight between Houston-Denver route.

The previous goal was to restart that service with a 787 on June 5, pending U.S. regulators’ approval of Boeing’s proposed upgrades to the jet’s lithium-ion batteries, said Christen David, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based United.

Boeing finished its battery tests with an April 5 flight and said it would submit the required materials to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA will decide whether the fix is enough after electrical failures on a Japan Airlines Co. plane in Boston and an ANA Holdings Inc. flight in Japan spurred an FAA grounding order on Jan. 16.

United “will be making additional schedule changes as we gain visibility into the timeline for certification and modification work,” David said in an e-mail.

The airline plans to begin flying between Denver and Tokyo with a Dreamliner on June 10 and will start “temporary” 787 service between Houston and London’s Heathrow airport the same day, David said. Denver and Houston are both United hubs.

“This will allow us to ramp up our international 787 operations,” she said, without providing specifics. United also plans other unspecified domestic flights using the Dreamliner, David said.

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