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Sep 27, 2011

Forty months late and heavy, the first 787 delivery is about to fly away to All Nippon Airways

Ceremonies over, the first Dreamliner to actually get delivered to an airline is about to leave Everett 40 months late and so heavy it is useless for long range flights. Instead the

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Ceremonies over, the first Dreamliner to actually get delivered to an airline is about to leave Everett 40 months late and so heavy it is useless for long range flights.

Instead the 787-8 will enter for short haul service with launch customer All Nippon Airways on 1 November, with daily flights between Tokyo Haneda and Okayama and Hiroshima.

These words may strike some readers as unduly harsh, but in an industry where patsy press release cut and pasting is the normal form of investigative reporting, and three years of atrocious misinformation from Boeing has been ignored or side-lined we’ll stick to our words.

It is truly wonderful to see the first 787-8 Dreamliner head off into commercial service,  but the delays and questions about the jet’s actual performance need to keep firmly in view, especially given its importance to Jetstar, its shrinking Qantas affiliate, and Air New Zealand.

The plastic airliner (propped up with prodigious amounts of metal) is supposed to be delivered to Jetstar sometime in 2013, and Air New Zealand, which is the launch customer for the 787-9 ‘stretch’ has been promised it will get its first delivery at the end of 2013.

Not even Air New Zealand believes that, and has officially referred to it as arriving in 2014, which is also three years later than it was promised when it signed up for the longer range, higher payload derivative.

Qantas is supposed to get 787-9s in 2014, 2015 or even 2016 depending on who you speak to.  Originally Qantas/Jetstar was going to get 787s  from August 2008, a date Boeing swore was set in concrete even early in that year. If it had, and if the jet had performed as promised, recent events and misfortunes at Qantas might never have occurred,  as the 787-8s and -9s would have allowed it to get rid of its aged Boeing 767s and through scheduling changes, accelerated the retirement of its oldest Boeing 747s.

This YouTube covers the pre-delivery inspections of the first 787-8 by All Nippon Airways team members in Everett.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVSfqm4H8kY&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]

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6 comments

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6 thoughts on “Forty months late and heavy, the first 787 delivery is about to fly away to All Nippon Airways

  1. RocketScientist

    I hope we do get to know how much over target weight this airplane really is.
    Ditto for the A350.
    What chance the eventual 737 replacement having an aluminum fuselage?

  2. FlyLo

    Ben, if as you state, the 787-8 is so heavy it is useless for long range flights, why is the bbc reporting that ANA plans to operate the 787 to Frankfurt from January 2012 (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15040244). It is not unusual for new aircraft to be deployed on short haul routes when initially delivered. Air France operated its first Airbus 380 regularly between Paris Charles de Gaulle and London Heathrow.

  3. Uwe

    @FlyLo:
    Frankfurt Tokyo is 9,357 km
    fully loaded range was advertised as 14,200–15,200 km

    And it has been reported that later deliveries will be slightly
    less overweight _and_ have ~10t higher MTOW bringing
    the Dreamliner to slightly short of the A330 MTOW.
    Looks like most planned weight advantage has been lost.

  4. comet

    Of course, Boeing itself doesn’t like to use the term ‘plastic’, even though a plastic plane is what it is.

    It’s only a matter of time before one of these plastic airliners crashes due to unforeseen behaviour of the plastic composite materials.

  5. Weekly Roundup Friday 30 September 2011 » The Travel Insider

    […] which hints at enduring issues with the 787.  In his typical Australian straight-talking manner, Ben Sandilands claims the 787 is ‘so heavy it is useless for long range flights’.  That might be a slight exaggeration, but it does seem that the promises, expectations and hopes […]

  6. MHS 0ldb0y

    Meanwhile, Udvar-Hazy is on record as saying Boeing won’t break-even on the 787 programme until tail number 1,500 rolls out the door.

    Needless to say, it will be a few years until THAT happens. I expect quite a few ‘growing pains’ as Boeing struggles to ramp up production, and bring the South Carolina production facilities on-line.

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