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United takes $11 mn charge on 787 grounding

United Airlines said Thursday that it expects to return its Boeing 787 aircraft to service in May after taking an $11 million charge related to the grounding of the planes.

United, the sole US airline to currently fly the 787 aircraft, disclosed the $11 million charge, related to personnel and depreciation costs, as part of the company's quarterly earnings results.

Chief Executive Jeff Smisek said in a conference call that domestic 787 flights would resume next month.

"We currently expect to begin to fly them again domestically in May, with our first international 787 service being our new nonstop service between Denver and Narita on June 10," Smisek said.

"The grounding of the 787s had an impact on our bottom line and we are eager to get this remarkable aircraft back up and flying."

Regulators in January grounded the planes globally due to a series of incidents during which the plane's batteries overheated. The problem caused a fire in one aircraft and smoke and fumes on another.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced in an airworthiness directive Thursday its official approval of Boeing's proposed modifications to fix the problem, and said the aircraft would be able to fly once the modifications are complete.

The FAA directive estimated the cost of compliance for United's six 787 planes at $2.8 million.

The FAA said some of the costs may be covered "under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on affected individuals."

A Boeing official said Wednesday that the company would work with customers "to ensure that the disruption doesn't hurt their results and their operation more than it needs to."

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