“Inspiration of Japan” – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter
Air travel is a unifying force that brings people together. At the same time, it can be a great way to experience the differences between countries or cultures. I got to do just that during a trip to Japan, which had long been at the top of my destination list. My time on the ground exploring Japan’s teeming cities was amazing, but I also enjoyed experiencing Japan’s aviation world and how – in many ways – it differed from what I was used to in the U.S.
Read on for my two cents – or, rather, two Yen – on flying around Japan with one of its two flagship airlines: All Nippon Airways (ANA).
It’s nice when the plane tells you the article’s title – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
Roughly five years ago, ANA took delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner. More than that, it was the first 787 to enter commercial service.
Twenty million passengers, three hundred thousand flying hours, and one hundred twenty five thousand flights later, they are now at fifty. That calls for a party.
ANA’s newest 787-9 is also their 50th – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
ANA, took this event as an opportunity to reflect on their involvement with the 787 program.
Clearly, they love it. Though the initial order was for fifty, they now have a further 33 coming after this one. Compared to the 767, this aircraft saves them 98 million U.S. Dollars a year in fuel and 20% in maintenance. These figures are why ANA has been able to use the 787 to open markets that did not seem previously possible. Soon, they will fly to Phnom Penh Cambodia; but the big news is Mexico City.
ANA returns to Sydney with the Star Wars 787-9
All Nippon Airways (ANA) has returned to Sydney after a 16-year hiatus, operating their Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. A stand-out from any other inaugural flight, the ANA Star Wars jet made its debut appearance in Australia’s largest city to celebrate this special event, as well as the upcoming film. As an avid Star Wars fan, I was compelled to be present for the arrival of this work of art.
As exciting as the prospect of ANA returning to Sydney was, the highlight for me was the aircraft tour shortly after arrival.
The R2-D2-style seat covers are a cute addition to the aircraft
After a period of rushing around issuing visitor passes to the media crews, the bus had us out at the runway 15 minutes prior to the arrival of the Star Wars Dreamliner. I was also made aware that people had flocked to the airport to witness this spectacle, with all the usual aircraft spotting areas full. Spotting at Sydney Airport can be a challenge to even the most experienced AvGeek, with runway selections seeming arbitrary at times. Fortunately on this occasion, the plane landed on the runway we hoped for.
ANA’s Star Wars R2-D2 arrives to gate S16 at SeaTac. This was the first time the aircraft had been deployed to Seattle.
My initial assignment, with AirlineReporter long ago, was to cover the arrival of the first ANA 787 to Seattle. It is befitting that my long history with AirlineReporter officially ends with another ANA 787; this time though it is the ultimate 787 – the R2-D2 Star Wars jet.
The special 787-9 rolled out in October and began service later that month to Vancouver. Now that it is operating out in the wild, I eagerly awaited my opportunity to spot it in my current hometown of Seattle. Being a Star Wars and Astromech droid fan myself (R5s are better than R2s in my opinion), how could I not take this on?