Speaking on United's fourth-quarter earnings call Thursday morning, Smisek declared, "History teaches us that all new aircraft types have issues and the 787 is no different.
"We continue to have confidence in the aircraft and in Boeing's ability to fix the issues," he said, adding that he expects "customers will flock to the airplane once we get it flying again.
"Customers love the aircraft," Smisek said. "Ask anybody who has flown that airplane: it's spectacular."He said that "when regulatory authories and Boeing working together determine the cause of the battery issues and the fix for it, we'll implement whatever the fix is." United took delivery of six 787s in 2012 and expects to take two more in the second half of 2013. Follow @tedreednc -- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed