MIAMI — Boeing and All Nippon Airways (ANA) celebrated the airline’s 100,000th revenue flight with the Boeing 787 today, four years and three months after its entry into service (EIS) with the Japanese carrier. ANA is the first carrier in the world to reach this milestone with the Dreamliner.
“Reaching the 100,000th revenue flight milestone with the 787 Dreamliner is a significant milestone for ANA.”said Osamu Shinobe, president and CEO, ANA, “As the largest customer of the 787, we look to forward to introducing the entire family of Dreamliners into our fleet as we aim to celebrate another 100,000 flights and beyond.”
A Troubled Beginning, a Successful Outcome
The Dreamliner is a revolutionary aircraft, and it is frequently touted as the future of aviation for its building and assembly processes, which have been a clear example on how globalization and novel manufacturing processes were matched to provide one a world-class jetliner.
However, this has not been an easy task. From quailty control issues to design flaws and labor strife, the entry into service of the 787-8 Dreamliner in October 2012 has proven to be traumatic for Boeing. Just a few months after its entry into service the Dreamliner was grounded by governmental order until further notice after a succession of on-board lithium-ion batteries fire for unexplained reasons.
Despite thousands of man-hours spent working the issue, no one was able to figure out what caused the batteries to go alight in the first place. Consequently, with the success of an entire program on the hook, Boeing managed to convince the FAA that while the events still couldn’t be explained, they could be contained. The FAA signed off on it after testing, the system was added to existing aircraft, and the Dreamliner returned to service after being sidelined for over three months. Ethiopian was the first to resume service, in late April 2013. Deliveries resumed in May, and climbed to a respectable 65 aircraft by the end of that year.
The worst seemed to be over for the airplane, with most incidents reduced instead to the typical growing pains related to the entry into service and teething issues. Since then, the program is reaching its maturity, with aircraft deliveries and dispatch reliability catching up with the existing demand.
The Dreamliner: ANA’s Distinctive Flagship
Since the introduction of the 787, ANA has taken advantage of the aircraft to exploit long thin routes, in which demand is not large enough to fill a larger aircraft. ANA has launched new routes worldwide, including North America, Europe and Southeast Asia. With this milestone, ANA has accumulated approximately a quarter of all 787 revenue flights.
This year, the Dreamliner took part of an important promotional campaign with ANA and Walt Disney Corp. One of the carrier’s Dreamliners sports now one of the most eye-catching special liveries around. Dubbed the R2-D2 ANA Jet, it is one of three promotional aircraft intended to promote the coming Star Wars movie trilogy. The first of these, named Star Wars: The Force Awakens, was released in December 2015.
ANA operates the world’s largest 787 fleet with 44 787s, including both the 787-8 and the longer 787-9. The airline has 39 unfilled 787 orders, including for the 787-10, in addition to 20 777-9X.
With a sound fleet of 44 Dreamliners and 39 unfilled orders, ANA is currently the world’s largest 787 operator, including the 787-8 and the longer 787-9, and it will also receive the 787-10, which has recently completed its detailed design phase.