Star Alliance Member All Nippon Airways (ANA) has finally conducted the first commercial flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on October 26, 2011. This historic milestone charter flight was delayed by 3 years and 4 months in takeoff…
ANA originally placed the launch order for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner back in April 2004, with the anticipation, that it can show off the plane on the scheduled Tokyo-Beijing route in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. That could not happen due to Boeing facing several issues during the development of the plane that caused numerous delays in the program. Just to name a few of those reasons: part shortages, software issues, machinists’ strikes, network problems, and a fire during flight testing… Test flights only began in December 2009 and certification took about twice as long as planned back then.
The first Boeing 787 Dreamliner (Registration: JA801A), which is a fuel efficient airplane made almost exclusively of lightweight carbon composites, made a 4 hour and 10 minute flight from Tokyo Narita Airport to Hong Kong with 250 passengers as its first commercial flight. Following the charter flight, the first Boeing 787 regular scheduled domestic service will be routes from Tokyo Haneda to Okayama and Hiroshima, both beginning Nov. 1. Then in December 2011, ANA plans to use the new aircraft type on the Tokyo Haneda-Beijing route, which will be the airplane’s first regular international service. Further domestic services are planned to be launched before year-end from Haneda to Itami, Yamaguchi Ube and Matsuyama. The first regular long-haul international 787 service will be Tokyo Haneda-Frankfurt, beginning as a thrice-weekly service on January 21, 2012, and increasing to daily in February.
To power all these routes, ANA currently has two 787s (with special domestic configuration of 12 premium and 252 economy seats – later two different configurations will be used for international flights: 42 business + 180 economy and 46 business + 112 economy), but expects to have another five (!) by the end of the year. By the end of March 2012, ANA expects to have a total of 11 787s, and 20 by March 2013. The Japanese Star Alliance member plans to have all 55 of the 787s on order – which includes 15 of the longer 787-9 version – by the end of March 2018.