After more than three years of delays, Boeing delivered the first 787 Dreamliner to Japan’s All Nippon Airways on Monday. It was a delivery met with much fanfare, as a crowd of thousands celebrated the long-awaited launch at Boeing’s Everett, Wash.-based facilities.
To commemorate the launch, more than 500 employees from the 747 program walked alongside of the Dreamliner as it was presented to ANA officials. ANA, which has purchased 55 of the aircraft, plans to put the first Dreamliner into service in November.
“It’s not often that we have the chance to make history, do something big and bold that will change the world in untold ways and endure long after we are gone,” Albaugh stated. “That’s what the 787 Dreamliner is and what ANA and Boeing have done together — build what truly is the first new airplane of the 21st century.”
Still, it’s been an aircraft bogged down with design and manufacturing issues. The Dreamliner, which made its maiden voyage in December 2009, was initially slated for delivery in 2008, although weight issues delayed it.
Either way, customers have anxiously awaited the launch of the wide-body aircraft, which consumes 20 percent less fuel than Boeing’s 767 aircraft. Boeing currently has orders for 821 Dreamliners, which company officials said is testament to the aircraft’s unique design and innovation.
“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,” Boeing Chairman and CEO Jim McNerney said in a statement. “I want to thank ANA and all the employees of Boeing and our partner companies for the talent, technology and teamwork that have brought this game-changing airplane to life.”
ANA President and CEO Shinichiro Ito, who was presented with a commemorative key during the delivery ceremony, also pointed to the benefits of the aircraft acquisition. “We are delighted to finally be taking delivery of our first 787,” he stated. “The Dreamliner will enable us to offer unrivaled standards of service and comfort to our passengers and will play a key part in ANA’s plans for international expansion.”
ANA’s acquisition of the first Dreamliner comes just a little more than a week after Cargolux’s self-professed “rejection” of the first two of 13 Boeing 747-8Fs it ordered. Citing “unresolved contractual issues,” the Luxembourg-based freight carrier pulled out of the deal three days before the aircraft’s launch ceremony in Everett, Wash.
Whether Boeing and 747-8F launch customer Cargolux reach a deal or nix their partnership altogether remains to be seen.