Boeing delivered the first 787 Dreamliner aircraft to its launch customer All Nippon Airways on Tuesday, after the plane took off from Everett, Wash., and headed to Tokyo.
After a three-year delay, the 787 has finally arrived. Boeing executives handed a ceremonial key to All Nippon Airways (ANA) in an elaborate celebration Tuesday in Everett, prior to the plane taking off.
"We are delighted to be taking delivery finally of our first 787. ANA is extremely proud to be the launch customer for the Dreamliner and to have helped Boeing so closely in the development of this state-of-the-art aircraft," said Shinichiro Ito, president of Japan’s ANA.
The much-anticipated airliner promises a lighter construction and more fuel savings, and passengers will benefit from more cargo/luggage space and bigger window holes. Using a carbon-fiber exterior, the 787 could save airlines up to 20 percent in fuel compared to similarly sized aluminum aircrafts.
The planes are being assembled at Boeing’s plant in Everett, as well as a second factory in South Carolina to cater to the demand of more than 800 planes on order from airlines globally. The 787 aircraft will compete in the market with the A350 wide-body aircrafts built by Boeing’s rival Airbus SA.
While the launch ceremony was optimistic, despite seven years and more than $30 billion in development costs, there could still be some minor kinks that need to be worked out after the initial delivery.
According to a Seattle Times report, the plane delivered to ANA is one of the planes Boeing had to reassemble due to some structural issues—and as late as last week, ANA pilots that test flew the plane still noticed some minor issues, according to people with knowledge of the flight.
With the first plane delivered, Boeing’s next challenges are to work out the kinks in the early batches, and get production up to speed to its forecasted 10 planes per month by 2013.
Boeing’s official website lists that the company has taken orders for 821 planes from airlines and agencies, and the plane is estimated at $200 million.
Shares of Boeing (NYSE: BA) gained 1.44 percent on Tuesday to settle at $62.28 per share, and is down 3.80 percent since Jan. 1.