MIAMI – Last week, Japan Airlines (JL) took delivery of its 50th Boeing 787, a sign of the carrier’s confidence in the aircraft type. 

The aircraft, JA881J, a Boeing 787-9, took off from Everett at 12PM and landed at Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) 9 hours later at 1:37PM.

With the addition of the new aircraft, Boeing 787s now make up over 30% of the Japanese flag carrier’s fleet.

The aircraft type has proved to be versatile for the airline, operating both medium haul flights in the intra-Asia market, as well as on long haul flights to the United States and Europe. 

Complementing their existing fleet of 13 Boeing 777-300ERs, Boeing 787s have been an important part of JL’s path through COVID-19, allowing the airline to operate long haul flights with a seat smaller configuration. 

Photo: Nick Sheeder/Airways

The Japanese Connection

The Boeing 787 program maintains an important, symbiotic connection to Japan.

Not only do both major Japanese airlines operate large fleets of Boeing 787s, but the program heavily relied on the robust Japanese manufacturing industry to develop and construct the aircraft. 

Although the aircraft’s components are manufactured all over the world, many crucial pieces, including the wing and center wing box, and portions of the fuselage were originally contracted to be made in Japan by Japanese companies.

Additionally, Japanese corporations played a key role in the development and manufacturing of the wing design. 

Japan Airlines’ main competitor, All Nippon Airways (NH), was also the launch customer of the aircraft type, setting the foundation for a strong connection between the airline and the aircraft type. 

Featured Image: Daniel Gorun/Airways