A little more than four months after the Boeing 787 was grounded by national aviation oversight bodies worldwide, the jet has returned to service, operating United Airlines flight 1 on Monday.
UAL1 departed with a “nearly full flight of passengers,” according to the New York Times. United Continental CEO Jeff Smisek was onboard, in addition to Boeing chief executive W. James McNerney. The flight left Houston on-time, and arrived around 15 minutes early in Chicago, according to United.com.
It is hoped that the return of the 787 to commercial service, and the resumption of deliveries will close a painful chapter in 787 history.
Following a string of battery incidents that culminated in the emergency landing of an All Nippon Airways flight on January 16, the FAA ordered an emergency review of the Dreamliner’s systems, and subsequently grounded the 787 until further notice. The governing aviation bodies of other nations soon followed suit, and an emergency investigation was launched into the seeming unexplainable fires and shorts occurring in the Dreamliner’s battery compartment.
On April 19, the Federal Aviation Administration (USA) and the Japan Transportation Safety Board (Japan) decided to lift the Dreamliner grounding order after Boeing made design modifications to the aircraft’s battery system.
Perhaps the scariest part of the entire ordeal is that the cause of the battery problems is still unknown.
Four airlines have returned their 787s to the skies; United, Air India, Qatar, and Ethiopian. On June 1, All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL) will reintroduce the 787 to service. Poland’s LOT plans to return their 787s to commercial service on June 5.