MIAMI— The Force in now stronger with All Nippon AIrways after unveiling today in Everett the first Start Wars-themed Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner featuring an R2-D2 custom paint scheme, the first of three planes to be basked in schemes dedicated to the series in a new partnership with Walt Disney Company (Japan) Ltd.
As the Star Wars theme music began to play, the doors of the hangar began to open to let the R2-D2 Dreamliner emerge to a cheering crowd of Boeing and ANA employees, aviation and Star Wars enthusiasts, who had been anticipating this moment for months.
Last April, the airline and the Walt Disney Cop. announced an agreement to paint three aircraft as a promotion of the coming movies of the Saga. The first of these, named Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to be released in December 2015.
“Today the time has come to bring the ANA Star Wars project to life and we hope Star Wars fans across the world will be as excited about our R2-D2 ANA Jet as we are.” – Hideki Kunugi, Senior Vice President, the Americas, ANA.
The event had a few special guests, including R2-D2 himself who was delighted to see himself plastered on the side of this new 787, C-3PO and some Stormtroopers who may after years of searching have found the droids they were looking for.
It was known that the interior of this 215-seat passenger plane will feature Star Wars themed in-flight decorations, and passengers will have access to all six of the currently released Star Wars films as part of ANA’s in-flight entertainment options.
On October 18, the R2-D2 ANA Jet is scheduled to go into service on international routes, initially as flight NH116 between Tokyo and Vancouver, and then fly between Japan and other cities in ANA’s international network including the US (Seattle and San Jose), Europe (Munich, Paris and Brussels), Australia (Sydney), China (Beijing), and Indonesia (Jakarta).
In addition to the new RD-D2 ANA Jet, the airline has operated ten aircraft featuring the Pokémon fictional characters since 1998. Five Boeing 747-400s, four 767-300s and a Boeing 777-300 have received special schemes relatedto these fictional Japanese creatures throughout the years.
And the force will be stronger in the coming months as two other themed aircraft will be released. One of them, a Boeing 767-300 featuring both BB-8 and R2-D2, will begin flying domestic Japanese routes in November and then, in March 2016, a Boeing 777-300ER is scheduled to start serving international routes principally between Japan and North America featuring BB-8, a new character to be introduced in the forthcoming film.