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SPECIAL REPORT: Boeing’s first B787 Dreamliner delivered to ANA

27 Sep 2011 by BusinessTraveller
Business Traveller reports on the long-awaited handover of the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner to ANA at a ceremony outside its Everett factory. If you didn’t catch it live online yesterday, a rainy morning 40km north of Seattle, Washington, saw hundreds of Boeing employees turn out to celebrate the launch of the Dreamliner. At 9am PDT (5pm UK), those without umbrellas sheltered beneath the wings and fuselage of All Nippon Airways’ first B787, with a giant screen broadcasting pre-recorded interviews with representatives who have worked on designing and building the plane. Speeches from both the aircraft manufacturer and the airline then followed. The weather didn’t manage to dampen enthusiasm, and even after three years’ delay, the Japanese carrier’s CEO and president Shinichiro Ito, looked genuinely pleased to have the giant golden ceremonial key to the wide-body aircraft handed over to him by Boeing’s commercial airplanes president and CEO Jim Albaugh. Jim McNerney, Boeing chairman, president and CEO, said: “Today we celebrate a significant moment in the history of flight. The 787 Dreamliner is the biggest innovation in commercial aviation since the Boeing 707 introduced the world to passenger jet travel more than 50 years ago.” Albaugh added: “What ANA and Boeing have done together [is] build what truly is the first new airplane of the 21st century.” ANA and Boeing completed the contractual delivery of the B787 on Sunday September 25, and at 6.35am PDT (2.35pm UK time) today, the carrier will fly it home to Tokyo Haneda airport. (Visit newairplane.com for a live webcast of the flyaway.) At a press briefing after the signing on Sunday, senior vice-president of ANA, Satoru Fujiki, was keen to assert there were no hard feelings towards Boeing, but declined to comment on how much the delays on delivery had cost it in financial terms. “We have been awaiting the arrival of the B787 for over three years so I can’t say that didn’t have any impact but actually ANA and Boeing have been working very closely to mitigate the impact of the late delivery by taking alternative deliveries of B767s and B777s,” he said. So will the Dreamliner, which costs around US$185 million per plane, prove a good investment? Fujiki said: “The B787 is considered a medium-size aircraft but it can travel more than 52 per cent further than a similarly sized B767, while using 20 per cent less fuel. This brand new aircraft presents a new business opportunity for us to open new routes that would not have been viable before and gives us the chance to expand our network.” He went on to highlight how new design features in the “carbon-composite” (not to be confused with plastic, Boeing added) aircraft will also improve the in-flight experience for travellers. “The Dreamliner has set a new standard for customer comfort with higher humidity, and windows that are 30 per cent larger. The automatic control system reduces vibrations and produces a smoother ride. We are also using specially designed noise-reducing engines by Rolls Royce for a quieter flight,” he said. He added: “Our passengers are our top priority and the many benefits that the Dreamliner can offer help ANA meet our goals of being number one [carrier in Asia] in terms of customer satisfaction, quality and value creation. We believe that the B787 is a win-win, not only [does it provide] value to customers with a good in-fight experience but also as a sound business strategy in terms of efficiency and cost-savings for the airline.” ANA will operate the Dreamliner on a chartered service between Tokyo Narita to Hong Kong on October 26. A regular domestic service will then commence on November 1 on Tokyo Haneda-Okayama and Haneda-Hiroshima routes. All Nippon will introduce its first international service in December, starting with Haneda-Beijing, followed by a new route between Haneda and Frankfurt from January 2012. Fujiki said: “ANA will take delivery of 12 Dreamliners during fiscal year 2011 and eight more [by spring 2013]. In total we will take delivery of 55 B787s by the end of 2017.” Visit ana.co.jp, boeing.com. Report by Jenny Southan Look out for a full report on the Dreamliner in-flight experience in our October edition of the magazine.
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