Chilean airlines takes its first 787

By Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer

Chile’s LAN Airlines took delivery of its first Boeing Co. 787 on Friday, making it the fourth carrier to receive a Dreamliner jet.

LAN will be the first Latin American airline to operate Boeing’s new mostly composite 787. The carrier received its first Dreamliner during a ceremony Friday at the Future of Flight Aviation Center, near Boeing’s Everett plane factory.

“This is a landmark moment not just for LAN, but for all our passengers in Latin America and other countries the 787 will operate to/from,” Ignacio Cueto, CEO of LAN Airlines, said in a statement.

LAN has ordered a total of 26 Dreamliners and has six more on lease. The carrier will fly its new 787 on routes between Santiago and Buenos Aires, Argentina; Lima, Peru; Madrid, Spain; Frankfurt, Germany; Los Angeles.

“LAN has clearly become the leader in aviation in Latin America and across the globe due to its strong leadership, unrivaled customer service, and commitment to technology and innovation,” Van Rex Gallard, a vice president of sales for Boeing, said in a statement.

Boeing delivered the first Dreamliner about 11 months ago to Japan’s All Nippon Airways. Since then, Boeing has delivered 787s to ANA, Japan Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines. Both Japanese carriers have received multiple Dreamliners.

Air India had been expected to receive a 787 this week, but the airline still had not picked up its Dreamliner as of Friday. The carrier originally planned to pick up its new Dreamliner in May. But a pilots’ strike and an argument over compensation for previous delays by Boeing have pushed back delivery. Air India originally was supposed to be the third carrier, ahead of Ethiopian, to get a 787.

United and Qatar airlines are expected to get 787s in September.

Earlier in the week, Boeing announced that another 787 production line has opened in Everett, where the company’s original Dreamliner line is located. Boeing also has a 787 final assembly line in North Charleston, S.C. Boeing says the second line in Everett is temporary but will help the company achieve its goal of building five 787s monthly by the end of 2012 and 10 monthly by late 2013.