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, 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.
By the end of this fiscal year, Japan forecasts that there being at least 1000 Japanese companies with financial links to Mexico. Only one airline offers nonstop service between Narita (or anywhere in North Eastern Asia) and Latin America. Aeromexico uses the GEnX engine and departs in the middle of the night. Why? Well, Mexico city is one of the most challenging airports from an airliner perspective. Hot, high above sea level, and prone to low barometric pressure. For a desired, profitable, payload many planes would find themselves out of runway before getting anywhere near V1. ANA, Rolls Royce, and Boeing have been working on not so much an increase in thrust for the Trent 1000; but a consistent thrust option.
Boeing wanted to make us aware of this, but the details are largely protected. My guess is that this thrust consistency package that ANA is asking for is something akin to what General Electric offered on the GE-90-110 and 115 series. Not a true up-rate, but the ability through both software and physical engineering to increase or maintain thrust output for a longer time without damaging the engine or reducing reliability.
ANA and Boeing say that this technology should be ready by year’s end for a potential February 2017 launch.
So, in reality- this event wasn’t just a celebration of ANA now operating roughly ten percent of the global 787 fleet (10.2% if you really want to do the math). This event was a celebration of the aircraft itself.
With the 787-10 set to enter service in 2018, it is starting to seem as if the program is putting its challenging beginning even further behind it.