- ANA set to take delivery of 11 787s in first three months
- Chinese Airlines abandon early delivery slots
- First six flight test aircraft go unallocated to airline customers
According to documents obtained by FlightBlogger detailing information on the first 30 787s, ANA was set to take delivery of three Dreamliners in the first three months of production based on an anticipated August 2009 entry into service. The new schedule has 11 aircraft being handed over to the Japanese carrier during the same three-month production period beginning in February 2010.
The change in the delivery schedule, which will see the first 10 production 787s go to the Japanese carrier, provides a significant boost in capacity for ANA's fleet and will enable Boeing to fully make up ground lost over the delays of the previous two years. ANA initially expected to receive about six 787s per year. Royal Air Maroc is taking the 11th production aircraft, with ANA taking number 12.
Both Boeing and ANA declined specific comment, citing a policy of not disclosing or discussing individual aircraft delivery schedules.
Though, Drew Magill, director of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes speaking generally about the Boeing delivery schedule in March noted that the poor economic environment had created a "dynamic" market whereby some customers are seeking to move up delivery of aircraft on order, while others are looking to move deliveries back.
Boeing did add that, "where possible, we are making adjustments that meet our customers' fleet needs while allowing us to successfully manage our production plan."
An internal assessment by Airbus of the 787 identifies the initial batch of aircraft being delivered with a range of 6,370 nm, based on a 2-class 245-passenger configuration, well below the advertised range of 7,650 nm to 8,200 nm. For ANA, this range would be sufficient as it intends to introduce early aircraft on domestic routes, then branch out to longer routes.
Though, an independent assessment conducted by Leeham Co. using the Piano-X aircraft emissions and performance calculator places the 787 range, even with a potential fuel burn shortfall, closer to 6,800 nm.
Based on this assessment, from Tokyo's Narita Airport, ANA could theoretically reach the Southern United States, Western Europe or even east Africa with its early 787s.
All Nippon Airways launched the 787 Dreamliner in April 2004 with an order for 50 787s, split between 20 long range 787-8s and 30 medium range 787-3s.
Though originally expected to take half of the first 20 aircraft, the re-negotiations appear to be complete with Chinese carriers no longer taking delivery of any of the first 30 787s built. Yet, it remains unclear when the Chinese carriers would expect to receive their first Dreamliner.
Chinese airlines, who served as the launch customer for the 787's namesake in January 2005, reportedly were working to renegotiate delivery of their respective share of the early production aircraft "officially for payload reasons."
Shanghai Airlines Chairman Zhou Chi was quoted by Bloomberg news on March 13 as saying the 787 doesn't "fully meet the quality that Boeing touted earlier."
According to the same Airbus assessment of the 787, Boeing is widely expected to increase maximum takeoff weight from 219 tons to 227 tons beginning with Airplane 21 to boost the range of the Dreamliner.
ILFC chief Steven Udvar-Hazy says that Boeing is injecting a lot of resources into reducing the empty weight of the 787.
"In the long run, this will be an excellent aircraft," said Udvar-Hazy. "But I pity the airlines that get the first ones. Obviously those aircraft will not be the same standard as those 787s later on."
Sources tell FlightBlogger that the Chinese aircraft previously slated to be powered by GEnx engines will be fitted during wing pre-integration with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 compatible pylons to seamlessly make the transition to ANA's fleet.
Boeing designed a common wing interface for easy engine changes as a selling point for lessors who would be able to swap out the powerplants based on operator preference.
ANA and Chinese carriers Air China, Shanghai Airlines, China Southern, China Eastern and Grand China Air are most impacted by these changes, though the schedule reflects changes amongst other 787 customers.
Each of the five Chinese state-owned airlines were supposed to take delivery of their first Dreamliners ahead of the August 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Early 787 service from China was slated for US destinations like Boston, which currently has no direct Asia service.
FLIGHT TEST 787s GO UNALLOCATED
Boeing also confirms that the first six test flight aircraft, once destined for customers ANA, Delta Air Lines and Royal Air Maroc are no longer assigned to specific airlines.
"As we made adjustments to the latest delivery schedule, our customers had the opportunity to take production airplanes that better suited their business needs for a variety of reasons, including schedule," said Boeing.
Adding that the company is confident it will be able to place the six refurbished flight test aircraft with customers.
As as result, Morocco's Royal Air Maroc has also moved into the early production stream assuming ownership of two delivery spots previously held by Air China and China Eastern, with JAL taking an additional Dreamliner from another spot held by China Eastern.
In addition, this new information appears to confirm that Delta Air Lines, which had removed 18 787s from its US Securities and Exchange Commission filing, does not intend to be an early 787 customer, even though the airline confirms that it retains orders for the type.
According to the schedule of the first 30 aircraft, QANTAS and Air India have assumed control of spots previously held by Delta. The Australian airline, which will use the aircraft in its low-cost Jetstar subsidiary, previously expected to receive three 787s over three months, will now take delivery of its first five 787s over four months. Though speculation abounds that QANTAS could defer its 787 deliveries for financial reasons.
Boeing expects to fly the first 787 by the end of the 2nd quarter of 2009.