United Sends First 787 for Installation of New Battery

United Continental Holdings Inc., the only U.S. carrier to operate Boeing Co.’s 787, ferried the first of its Dreamliners to a Texas facility for installation of a new battery system that U.S. regulators approved last week.

The plane was flown today by three United pilots from Los Angeles, where it had been grounded, to Kelly Field in San Antonio, Christen David, a spokeswoman for United, said in a telephone interview. The flight went as planned, David said.

United is working with Boeing on a schedule for installing the battery system on its other five Dreamliners, David said. Battery faults that sparked a fire on a Japan Airlines Co. 787 in Boston and forced an emergency landing by an ANA Holdings Inc. jet in January triggered a global grounding of the plane.

Boeing has said it will take about five days per jet to install the new battery system, which includes more protection around power cells, a steel enclosure to prevent fire and a tube that vents fumes outside the fuselage.

There’s no change to United’s dates of May 31 for resuming domestic 787 flights and June 10 for international service, David said.

The Federal Aviation Administration grounded the Dreamliner on Jan. 16. The FAA approved Boeing’s fix for the batteries on April 19, paving the way for the 787 to resume commercial flights.