The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is about to start a new round of testing to prepare for its first customer, All Nippon Airways (ANA), during the third quarter of 2011. During the week of July 4th, the second Dreamliner, ZA002 is expected to start service readiness testing in Japan.
Both companies will help to simulate in-service operations at several airports throughout Japan. ANA’s maintenance crews will also have the ability to service the 787 during the testing, including fit checks for airplane jacks, towing and refueling the aircraft. The testing is expected to take place during the week of July 4th. This will also mark the first time that the 787 has flown to and with-in Japan.
At this point, ANA is expecting their first 787 Dreamliner sometime between August and September. Boeing is not officially talking about who will receive the next few 787s. However, Boeing President Jim McNerney announced that China Southern should receive their first Dreamliner during the fourth quarter this year.
Japan Airlines (JAL) has recently announced they will operate the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on a route from Narita Japan to Boston, starting in April 2012, but a JAL spokes person confirmed to me via email that this will not be the first 787 they will receive. “The first 787 will not be on the [Tokyo to Boston] route, but this route is the first one named by JAL to use the 787.” The spokesperson explained. “We haven’t announced where the first 787 will be deployed to.” JAL hopes to receive their first 787 by the end of 2011 and receive five Dreamliners by the end of the 2011 fiscal year.
It is not exactly clear if China Southern or JAL will receive the second 787, but this timeline suggests that ANA will not be flying the 787 exclusively for very long. With ANA’s pride in being the first customer for the 787 and all their advertising featuring the aircraft and even operating a site dedicated to the aircraft called “ANA We Fly 1st,” I can only imagine that the airline was hoping to be the only airline flying the Dreamliner for a bit longer than a few months at most.
I know this is a big deal for ANA. Because of all of the delays, my sense now is that the 787 will be introduced with little fanfare. Of course, once the plain is actually in service in modest numbers, I’m sure it will garner significant attention.
It’s still a win for Boeing, especially with all of the orders they’ve taken for it, but it’s a modest one. I suppose the same could be said for the A380.