Following the delivery of the first Boeing 787-9 aircraft to Air New Zealand in 2014, the aircraft will take a few years to become a common sight at airports across the Asia-Pacific.
Asia-Pacific’s seemingly insatiable demand for new aircraft is underlined by its carriers’ 126 orders for the 787-9. Flightglobal’s Ascend Online Fleets database shows that there are firm orders for 389 of the advanced type. Asia-Pacific operators account for 32% of the backlog, just ahead of North America with 30%.
Provided all goes to schedule, and the 787-9 does not suffer the service entry issues that plagued the -8, Air New Zealand will receive the first of the new type in June 2014.
Global 787 deliveries by region
Given its fuel efficiency, the new aircraft will enhance Air New Zealand’s ability to generate profits from long, thin transpacific routes to destinations such as Shanghai and Honolulu. The carrier has said it will use its eventual fleet of 10 787-9s on other mid-haul routes as well.
Ascend data shows that the biggest Asia-Pacific market for the new type will be Japan, with All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines set to receive a total of 50 787-9s. ANA, the launch customer of the original 787-8 in 2011, will be the second -9 customer after Air New Zealand.
Asia-Pacific 787-9 order backlog by country
Air New Zealand and ANA will enjoy a 787-9 duopoly in Asia-Pacific for the 16 months from June 2014, a period during which they will receive 13 aircraft between them. The third Asia-Pacific carrier to fly the 787-9 will be Air China, which gets its first example in November 2015.
Ascend also shows that although 787-9 deliveries will commence next year, it is only in 2016 that deliveries to Asia-Pacific operators will enter double digits, with 24 aircraft will be delivered that year, followed by 32 in 2017 and 36 in 2018.
Asia-Pacific 787-9 scheduled deliveries
The region’s third biggest operator of the 787-9 will be Vietnam Airlines, which will receive 19 examples between 2017 and 2019. The arrival of the 787-9 into its fleet will be preceded by the Airbus A350-900. It will get 14 of the Airbus type between 2015 and 2017.
The A350s will likely serve to replace its fleet of Airbus A330-200 aircraft on regional routes, and possibly some of its Boeing 777-200s on long-haul Europe routes. The arrival of the 787-9 could also make it possible for the carrier to commence long-haul services to North American cities.