Boeing Co. is scheduled to make the initial delivery of its 787 Dreamliner to All Nippon Airways Co. of Japan, following delays and postponements lasting more than three years.
The Dreamliner, a twin-aisle, mid-size, fuel-efficient craft constructed from lightweight composite materials, will first be presented to the Japanese carrier in Everett, Wash., before being flown to Tokyo on Wednesday.
“We’ve developed a set of technologies that will serve as the backbone of our airplanes for the next 30 years,” Scott Fancher, the 787 program chief, told reporters in Everett.
The airline said it plans to commence flying its first 787 Dreamliner on a domestic trajectory between Tokyo and Okayama-Hiroshima on Nov. 11. Subsequently, the airline will use the 787 on international flights from Tokyo to Frankfurt Germany in January.
Satoru Fujiki, ANA’s senior vice president for the Americas, told gathered media in Everett: “We have waited three years, and finally we have reached first delivery. We are quite confident in Boeing’s ability [to meet delivery targets].”
Boeing contemplates manufacturing 10 such planes per month starting in 2013.
At the moment, the company is producing about 2.5 planes per month. According to reports, Boeing has 821 orders from 52 customers for the aircraft.
The company’s reputation has been somewhat tarnished by lengthy delays in the Dreamliner’s delivery.
“I’m sleeping better than I have been for awhile,” said Dan Mooney, Boeing’s vice president of development, according to Bloomberg. “But our next challenge is getting that production system stable.”
Bloomberg reported that Boeing shares have fallen more than 40 percent since the first delays in the Dreamliner product line was announced four years ago.
This is a program that has been a long journey. We believe it is going to be a great airplane,” Boeing’s vice president of marketing, Randy Tinseth, told BBC. Ultimately we see the potential of thousands of 787 orders in the future.
Regarding the delays with the Dreamliner, Tinseth noted that there are risks with every new airplane.
He added: We've spent more money on this airplane than we anticipated, but again we're still in a position where we are not in a forward-loss situation, we believe the program will continue to be profitable.
Boeing’s principal competition will be the A350 XWB which is being developed by European rival Airbus.
Airbus, a subsidiary of The European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company N.V., has more than 550 orders for the A350 XWB, however that plane isn't expected to enter service for another two years.