Boeing 787 Dreamliner launch operator All Nippon Airways (ANA) could operate the aircraft on its first commercial flight as early as a week after it takes first delivery.
"The move into commercial service takes a very short time. It could just be one week from the delivery," says ANA president and CEO Shinichiro Ito, who declines to reveal the destination of the first service.
No additional modifications are required for ANA's first 787 after the delivery, he adds.
The Star Alliance carrier is scheduled to take delivery of the aircraft in the mid-first quarter of 2011, following several delays to the aircraft programme.
ANA has ordered 55 787s, of which 40 are 787-8s. It has said it plans to have domestic and long-haul configurations for the 787-8s. The first aircraft it will take delivery of will be configured for a long-haul flight.
The airline, however, plans to operate this aircraft on domestic commercial flights first to allow its pilots to familiarise themselves with the aircraft.
"Our first few 787s will be in the long-haul configuration, the ones with the domestic configuration will come later," says ANA's spokeswoman.
While Ito declines to give precise details about ANA's 787 configurations, he says the 240-seat 787-8 aircraft configured for domestic routes will have up to 20 premium seats. The remaining will be economy seats, he adds.
In September, ANA announced it would convert 15 of its 55 787-8s order to the larger -9 variant, joining a growing list of operators to make the switch.
The airline expects to receive its first 787-9 in 2014, says ANA's spokeswoman. The variant is scheduled to enter into service with Air New Zealand in 2013.