787s soon to be seen in a lot more places

Airlines from around the world will soon take delivery of Boeing Co. 787s, expanding the reach of the fuel-efficient Dreamliner.

Through the end of June, Boeing had delivered 787s to only two customers since an initial delivery back in September. Launch customer All Nippon Airways had received 10 Dreamliners; Japan Airlines had picked up four. Both airlines, of course, are flying their 787s outside of Japan to places like Boston, Frankfurt and Beijing. At a briefing last month, Boeing estimated the two airlines were servicing 15 locations worldwide.

That number should go up dramatically soon, according to a recently released report from CAPA Center for Aviation, an independent provider of industry analysis.

Boeing has said it will deliver between 35 and 43 787s to customers in 2012. Here’s a schedule of upcoming deliveries projected by CAPA:

July: Air India is expected to take delivery of three 787s. Delivery had been derailed by an airline-pilot strike and a squabble over compensation by Boeing for program delays. Three Boeing 787s are waiting for Air India in South Carolina at the jet maker’s second 787 assembly line.

August: China Southern Airlines will get the first of 10 787s on order, making it the first Chinese carrier — ahead of Air China and Hainan Airlines — to receive a Dreamliner. Back in early 2005, Boeing finally gave the Dreamliner, which had been referred to as the 7E7, the designation of 787 when the Chinese government agreed to order 60 jets for airlines there. Eight is considered a lucky number in China.

Ethiopian Airlines, which placed an order for 10 787s back in June 2005, is also set to receive a Dreamliner in August. The carrier will be the first on the African continent to get a 787.

Qatar Airways also will take delivery of a Dreamliner, the first of 30 on order, in August. The airline showed off that 787 this week at Farnborough, England, where Qatar’s Dreamliner was flown and was on display at the international air show.

September: The first North American carrier to receive a Dreamliner will be United Airlines in September. The airline outlined plans for its 787s earlier this week. United has said it expects to receive five Dreamliners by the end of 2012.

October: LAN will be the first Latin American carrier to operate a 787 when it receives its first Dreamliner in October. LAN has 26 on order.

November: LOT Polish Airlines will be the first European carrier with a Dreamliner when Boeing delivers the airline’s first in November. LOT has eight 787s on order, placed in September 2005.

Boeing had 845 unfilled requests as of the end of June. By the end of 2013, Boeing plans to be at a production pace of 10 787s per month between the North Charleston, S.C., and Everett sites.

Dublin’s Orix Aviation said Wednesday that it is in talks with 787 customers to buy the jets and then lease them back to the airlines in 10- to 12-year agreements. David Power, the unit’s chief executive officer, declined to name specific companies or how many planes he is aiming to buy. Air India previously expressed interest in selling the 787s it has on order and leasing them back but neither ANA nor Japan Airlines have expressed interest in similar plan.

Also on Wednesday, Boeing’s Pat Shanahan told The Seattle Times that the company has plenty of space in Everett to support increased production.

Boeing has space in the Everett factory for a “surge line” to supplement 787-8 deliveries out of South Carolina and 787-9 work. At the moment, that space is being used to ready mostly completed 787s before sending them to the flight line. The company also has the Everett Modification Center, where some of the early-built 787s are being reworked for delivery.

Once all of the modification and rework on 787s is done, that space could be available for the 777X, which Boeing has yet to offer to customers.

Bloomberg News contributed to this report. Michelle Dunlop: 425-339-3454; mdunlop@heraldnet.com.

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