Oneworld member Japan Airlines (JAL) took delivery of its first two Boeing 787 Dreamliners at the end of March, and have added the new plane type quickly into its operating fleet. JAL is the second Japanese operator of the type after ANA started flying their first Dreamliner late in October, 2011 – more than three years after the original delivery date – but the first to use General Electric GEnx-powered aircraft.
The two brand new Boeing 787s (registration numbers: JA825J and JA822J) were delivered to JAL on March 25 and touched down at Tokyo Narita and Haneda airports respectively on the 27th of March. Following one month of familiarization, training and marketing flights, the first revenue round-trip flight was completed to Boston Logan airport in the United States on April 22nd. This is the first ever non-stop flight to connect Boston with Asia, and marked the debut of the 787 in the USA. The second scheduled destination is Delhi, with flights starting on the 1st of May.
The 787 is scheduled to be deployed on routes between Tokyo and Beijing (May 7, Haneda), Moscow (May 7), Singapore (September) and Helsinki (March 2013) as soon as subsequent aircraft are delivered and all necessary preparations are completed. JAL will later this year (in December), also use this super-efficient aircraft to start yet another first nonstop service between a US city and Asia with the launch of direct flights between Tokyo (Narita) and San Diego.
JAL’s 787 Dreamliner is configured in two classes with 42 seats in business and 144 seats in economy (186 altogether). The Executive Class has a 2-2-2 configuration so that customers are either seated by the window or along the aisle. The 144 Economy Class seats have 2 cm (0.8 inches) wider space than current seats and is arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration.
Some highlights of the revolutionary aircraft include larger windows with electronically dimmable shades, as well as higher ceilings, lower cabin pressure and better humidity for a noticeably more comfortable in-flight experience. JAL’s hospitality is reflected in customer-contact points throughout the cabin and even in the work space for cabin attendants such as the kitchen equipment in the galley. Utilizing the LED lights in the Dreamliner, JAL created an original cabin lighting design to enhance the ambience onboard with a sense of the four seasons in Japan, such as pink hues of cherry blossoms in spring, or sky blue in the summer months of July and August. The lighting also adapts at various timings during the flight, to make the environment more conducive during meal service and for resting or waking up. A brand new type of in-flight entertainment is also introduced onboard JAL’s 787 Dreamliner, called SKY MANGA which reflects a distinctive part of the Japanese culture. There will be more than 30 titles of Japanese comics available in electronic versions on JAL’s in-flight entertainment system initially, with expansion to English versions planned for the near future.
JAL has firm orders for 25 787-8s, including the two delivered Monday, and 20 Boeing 787-9s plus 20 787 options, meaning if all are exercised, the Japanese carrier will be operating 65 Dreamliners (currently it has 209 aircraft altogether).