Airline passengers will get their first chance to fly out of Los Angeles on Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner in January, when United Airlines begins daily nonstop flights to Narita, Japan.
United, the first U.S. carrier to operate the twin-aisle aircraft, announced Thursday its first routes for the massive plane.
Its flights using the 787 from Los Angeles International Airport will begin Jan. 3 with daily, nonstop trips to Narita and to Shanghai starting March 30, United said. Although the aircraft can hold up to 290 passengers, the configuration United will use for these flights will carry a maximum of 219.
"The 787 is the right aircraft for these routes because of its many passenger-friendly amenities and superior operating economics," said Greg Hart, United's senior vice president of network.
Before its United debut in L.A., the aircraft will be used for flights from Houston to Amsterdam starting Dec. 4 and Houston to London starting Feb. 4. United will also fly the Dreamliner from Denver to Narita starting March 31.
The 787 Dreamliner has a price tag of $185 million to $218 million per plane and is the first large passenger jet to have more than half its structure made of composite materials instead of aluminum.
Boeing has promised that the use of composites and a newly developed engine will result in a plane that burns 20% less fuel than jetliners of a similar size.
Meanwhile, Australia-based Qantas Airways, which reported an annual loss of $257 million for the 12 months that ended June 30, announced Thursday that it was canceling an order for 35 Boeing 787 Dreamliners to free up $8.5 billion.
The airline has struggled partly because of rising fuel prices, a series of strikes that temporarily grounded its fleet and its ailing international division.
Qantas said it retained the right to buy Dreamliners in the future.
The Dreamliner made its initial passenger flight with All Nippon Airways in October 2011 after a three-year delay caused by design and supplier problems.
The plane has been beset by other glitches. Most recently, a 787 was blamed for starting a grass fire in July during pre-flight testing in South Carolina.