First Boeing 787 lands in Japan

2011-09-28 11:53
Tokyo - The first Boeing 787 landed on Wednesday in Tokyo where launch customer All Nippon Airways will prepare the long-delayed aircraft for its inaugural commercial flight.

The plane took off from Everett, Washington on Tuesday morning to cheering workers after a three-year delay in bringing the new wide-body jetliner to market. Boeing missed the initial May 2008 delivery target and had repeatedly delayed its introduction because of problems in development.

The plane goes into service on October 26 with a special charter flight from Narita International Airport to Hong Kong. ANA will begin using the 787 on regular domestic routes on November 01.

The new jet is the first commercial airliner built using carbon fibre - a strong, lightweight, high-tech plastic - rather than the typical aluminium skin. It is quieter and uses about 20% less fuel than a comparably sized aluminium aircraft.

Airlines have ordered more than 800 of the planes that will compete with the Airbus A350.

ANA, the world's eighth-largest airline by revenue, considers the 787 an important part of its global expansion efforts. Because of its extended range, ANA plans to use it on a number of new long-haul routes that were not commercially viable because passenger numbers weren't sufficient to justify larger aircraft such as the Boeing 747.

The 787 cabin will have bigger windows and larger overhead compartments. ANA also says passengers will be more comfortable because air pressure during flights will be equivalent to an altitude of 6 000 feet instead of the conventional 8 000 feet.

"This airplane has great potential for the future, and I feel that it will change things for the aviation industry," said ANA pilot Hideaki Hayakawa.

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