All Nippon Airways' (ANA) first Boeing 787 Dreamliner has completed its maiden revenue service from Tokyo's Narita Airport, arriving at Hong Kong's Chep Lap Kok to overcast skies.
The special charter service departed from Narita Airport at approximately 12:40 local on runway 34L, landing in Hong Kong at approximately 15:52 local time on runway 7L, piloted by Yuichi Marui, ANA director of 787 operations and Masami Tsukamoto, who was the first ANA pilot to fly the 787 in May 2010.
The aircraft, powered by twin Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, is Boeing's Airplane Eight, registered JA801A, and flying a special charter as All Nippon Flight 7871 carrying 240 passengers made up of airline and Boeing officials, as well as members of the media and revenue passengers.
The aircraft was fitted out in the carrier's domestic and short-haul international configuration with 264 seats - 12 in business class and 252 in economy class.
This first revenue flight comes after 40 months of delays, ushering in a new era of service with majority-carbon fibre commercial aircraft.
The 787 arrives more than 16 years after the introduction of the Boeing 777-200, with United Airlines, the airframer's last all-new jet.
"We have been through hard times in the development of the Boeing 787," said ANA president and CEO, Shinichiro Ito at a press conference ahead of the flight. "But we believe ANA has acquired great growth in being the first airline to fly the airplane."
Airplane Eight was contractually delivered to ANA on 25 September and arrived at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on 27 September, kicking off a month's worth of training activities for flight and cabin crews ahead of today's first service.
Scheduled service begins on 1 November between Tokyo-Haneda and Okayama and Tokyo-Haneda and Hiroshima. International regional service from Haneda to Beijing will begin in December and a long haul flight from Tokyo to Frankfurt, Germany, is scheduled to begin on 21 January 2012, with a 158-seat two-class configuration.
The Japan to Germany route will introduce the Rolls-Royce Package B upgrade of Trent 1000 engine to ANA's 787 fleet, bringing specific fuel consumption for the engine within 1% of its initial specification.
ANA has ordered 55 787s, two of which have been delivered. The airline hopes to have 11 aircraft in service by the end of the current financial year on 31 March 2012 and another nine by the end of the next financial year.
The carrier, which became launch customer for the type in April 2004, is expected to receive all 55, including 15 787-9s, by the end of its 2017 financial year on 31 March 2018.