The first 787-9 for All Nippon Airways seen at Boeing Field while conducting tests for Boeing - Photo: Mal Muir |

The first Boeing 787-9 for All Nippon Airways (ANA), seen at Boeing Field while conducting tests for Boeing                                 Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter

Several weeks ago, Air New Zealand became the first airline to take delivery of the new Boeing 787-9 — the stretched Dreamliner.  With much pomp & circumstance, they took ownership of their “All Blacks” livery aircraft and flew it away back to New Zealand.

Then, just before the end of July, the second 787-9 was delivered to All Nippon Airways (ANA) (JA830A), and it quietly slipped away into the night off to Japan. At the time, it was unknown who might commence 787-9 flights first.

Photo and press release from Boeing: EVERETT, Wash., July 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE:BA) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) today celebrated the delivery of the airline's first 787-9 Dreamliner. ANA will become the world's first airline to operate both the 787-8 and 787-9 variants of the Dreamliner family when the airline launches 787-9 services on domestic Japanese routes in August. "The 787 Dreamliner is a key element in our growth strategy and we are proud to be the first airline to fly both models of the 787 family," said Osamu Shinobe, ANA president and CEO. "The new 787-9 will build on the exceptional efficiency of the 787-8 and will allow us to meet growing demand that is anticipated ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Our customers have expressed their pleasure with the comfort of the 787's innovative cabin features and we are excited to introduce the new 787 variant into our fleet." With this delivery, ANA will have 29 787s in its fleet, more than any other operator in the world. "This milestone delivery adds yet another chapter in our long and successful relationship with ANA," said John Wojick, senior vice president of Global Sales and Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "ANA continues to demonstrate the market-leading efficiency and comfort of the 787 family." The 787-9 complements and extends the 787 family. With the fuselage stretched by 20 feet (6 meters) over the 787-8, the 787-9 will fly up to 40 more passengers an additional 450 nautical miles (830 kilometers) with the same exceptional environmental performance ’“ 20 percent less fuel use and 20 percent fewer emissions than similarly sized airplanes. The 787-9 leverages the visionary design of the 787-8, offering passenger-pleasing features such as large windows, large stow bins, modern LED lighting, higher humidity, a lower cabin altitude, cleaner air and a smoother ride. ANA has 29 more 787-9s on order with commitments for 14 more. Sixty customers from around the world have ordered more than 1,000 787s, with more than 160 currently in operation.

ANA’s first 787-9 departing Everett on delivery to Japan – Photo: Boeing

Air New Zealand, being the first to take delivery, did not plan to start their 787 on a new route until October when they would begin service from Auckland to Perth.  The Kiwis had decided to operate flights back and forth between New Zealand & Australia to get their crew used to the aircraft (as this is their first 787) and although they were operating flights with crew onboard, there were a few with just friends and family.  Despite that, it was ANA who would challenge the spot as first to operate the newest 787 model.

ANA was the first airline to take delivery of the 787-8, and they originally put it to work on domestic flights within Japan.  The airline is also now the largest operator of the 787, with a total of 30 in service; 29 of those are the smaller 787-8, which is split between a long-haul configuration and a higher density domestic configuration.

The newest arrival to the fleet is set up in a domestic configuration as well, with a whopping 395 seats onboard.  Meant to replace high-capacity 767s in Japan, the new aircraft will run back and forth between the Tokyo Haneda hub and other major Japanese cities like Osaka and Fukuoka.  But could ANA get a 787-9 into service before Air New Zealand?  You bet!

Children boarding the ANA 787-9 getting ready for the first passenger flight - Photo: All Nippon Airways

Children boarding the ANA 787-9, getting ready for the first passenger flight – Photo: All Nippon Airways

Before they even took delivery, it was announced that the first real flight of the 787-9 in Japan with passengers would be a special charity flight on the 4th of August.  The flight, scheduled to be a round trip to and from Tokyo Haneda, flew by Mt. Fuji and was full of school children from Japan and the United States.

Just three days later, on August 7th in Japan, the aircraft started flying with-in the ANA network, replacing older aircraft.

ANA Staff & Crew along with the first passengers pose in front of the 787-9 in Tokyo prior to their flight - Photo: All Nippon Airways

ANA staff & crew, along with the first passengers, pose in front of the 787-9 in Tokyo prior to their flight – Photo: ANA

The first commercial flight of the 787-9 was NH241, departing Tokyo Haneda at 7:25 am local time, heading south towards Fukuoka.

Replacing a 777-200 on this route, it turned around as NH248 and headed back to Tokyo to prep for its next flight.  The plane would then fly NH25 & NH30 to and from Osaka’s Itami Airport, and then the fifth and sixth flights of the day were a trip to Matsuyama.  A total of six revenue flights were accomplished for the 787 in the first day.

When this schedule was announced, Air New Zealand seemed to be scrambling to get their 787-9 into revenue service, but its first flight won’t be until August 9th.  It will commence on an Auckland to Sydney run, replacing a 767.

ANA's first 787-9 begins the first Revenue flight as it taxi's across Tokyo Haneda Airport - Image: Flightradar24

ANA’s first 787-9 begins the first revenue flight as it taxi’s across Tokyo Haneda Airport – Image: Flightradar24

Although the 787 was designed for very long and thin routes, the Japanese market is a very different beast compared to other places. Later deliveries of the 787-9 to ANA will come in an international configuration with 215 seats in a much more comfortable configuration.

As NH241 took off into the sky, heralding a new beginning for Japanese aviation, we can only look forward to seeing more and more carriers take delivery of this new aircraft.

CORRESPONDENT - SEATTLE, WA. Mal is an Australian native who has been a huge fan of airlines and aviation and currently works in airport-related operations. Email:
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Sahir Siddiqui

There is so much hype about these wonderful planes and ANA.
The reality is that the passenger experience is only as good as the airline allows it to be.
The seating on ANA’s 787s (in fact on their other aircraft as well) leaves much to be desired. Fly ten hours in a seat that doesn’t recline? Not exactly the great 787 experience everybody is taking about…
Yes, there are some nice touches – if you’re lucky to get the center row to yourself, the armrests go all the way up and between seats so you can lie down with out having then poke you in the site.

On the whole, however, avoid ANA and their 797s like the plague. Hopefully other airlines are doing better than ANA with their interior.

Karen M.

That kind of looks like Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg in the photo with the children’s charity flight, although it doesn’t say so. It made the occasion all the more special, I’m sure. What a great lady!

@ Sahir:
You should really read the article first. These 787-9s are meant for DOMESTIC Japan service only, that’s why they have 395 seats. You will not be flying 10 hours in these. The ANA international configuration for this type is a very spacious 215-seat configuration:

Also, 797s… really?

Sahir Siddiqui

797 was a typo – typing on a tablet with a non-mobile optimized website sucks. 🙁

I flew ANA’s 787-8 with its “spacious 215-seat configuration” – SIN-NRT, NRT-PEK, NRT-SIN, and I can tell you there was no space for my legs, nor did ANY seat recline. When you recline, all that happens is the seat cushion slides forward, so you end up with less room.

As I said, I was lucky the flights had plenty of free seats for me to sit sideways and spread legs across.

The aircraft itself was great – reasonably quiet, though I don’t notice anything different about the pressurization, etc – nor did I feel any fresher after the flight. I only had a problem with ANA’s seats. Hopefully that’s not going to be a trend on premium airlines. I always fly Singapore Airlines. This time, I chose ANA because I wanted to fly the 787. After doing so, I think I will go back to SQ. I wouldn’t want to fly ANA upright long haul on a full flight (even if it is a nice 787.


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