ANA flies its first 787 home to Japan

The first 787 that will carry paying passengers landed in Japan on Sept. 27, completing a 5,037-mile journey from Everett, where thousands of Boeing Co. workers created and built the world’s first mostly composite jet.

Having celebrated the 787’s delivery at Boeing on Monday, All Nippon Airways flew its first Dreamliner home to Tokyo. The trip took nine hours and 47 minutes, but it ended years of waiting for the Dreamliner’s launch customer.

Boeing suffered several setbacks with its fuel-efficient 787, including supplier and production problems. ANA’s chief executive Shinichiro Ito told Boeing employees during the delivery ceremony Sept. 26 that his 30,000 airline employees worked and suffered with them over these last three years of delays. The two companies have forged a stronger relationship as a result.

“It’s not often that we have the chance to make history, do something big and bold that will change the world in untold ways and endure long after we are gone,” said Boeing’s Jim Albaugh, president of commercial airplanes. “That’s what the 787 Dreamliner is and what ANA and Boeing have done together — build what truly is the first new airplane of the 21st century.”

The 787 departed from Paine Field at 7:16 a.m., Pacific time, on Sept. 27, about 40 minutes behind schedule. ANA’s Dreamliner landed at 5:03 p.m., according to FlightAware.

ANA streamed the landing through its website. More than 5,400 people watched the landing online.

To allow 787 fans a chance to fly on the jet, the carrier will fly charter flights on Oct. 26 and 27 from Tokyo to Hong Kong. ANA will take passengers up on flights that depart and land at Tokyo on Oct. 28 and 29.

The Dreamliner will enter regular service on Nov. 1, flying from Tokyo to Okayama, Japan.

This is the first of 55 Dreamliner aircraft that ANA has on order with Boeing. Satoru Fujiki, senior vice president for ANA, told journalists on Sept. 25 that Boeing has stepped up the pace of 787 deliveries to the carrier to make up for the delay. By March 2012, Boeing will have delivered 12 787s to ANA.

“Our delivery pace is quite accelerated,” Fujiki said.

Boeing has orders for 821 of its Dreamliner aircraft. The company’s shares rose 77 cents on Sept. 27 to close at $62.78.

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