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United Airlines shows confidence in Boeing Dreamliner by adding newest version of large jet

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SEATTLE - United Airlines is showing confidence in Boeing's 787 by taking delivery of the new, larger version of the jet that Boeing calls the Dreamliner.

Boeing Co. said Thursday that it delivered the 787-9 to United the day before. United is the first North American airline to get the plane, which is 20 feet longer and has more range than the original 787-8.

The worldwide fleet of Dreamliners was grounded for about three months last year after lithium-ion batteries overheated on some planes. U.S. officials allowed them to fly again after Boeing made design changes around the battery systems.

The plane, which uses much carbon fiber material, is designed to be more fuel-efficient than other large jets used for international flights. United plans to begin using its newest Dreamliner later this month between Houston and Los Angeles, and then begin flights between Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia, on Oct. 26. United configured the plane with 252 seats.

Boeing said that Chicago-based United Continental Holdings Inc. operates 11 Dreamliners and has another 54 on order, including the 787-10, which is still in development.

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