Boeing delivers first 787 to ANA

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Boeing officially handed over its first 787 to All Nippon Airways on 25 September, marking the start of the airframer's road to delivering 820 more aircraft after three and a half years of delays and nearly a decade of development. JA801A departed Boeing's Everett, Washington facility at 07:17 on 27 September and arrived at Tokyo Haneda on 28 September, just after 09:00 local time.

The aircraft will conduct a month-long process of training crews and pilots to operate the newly certified type.

The first formal service, a charter flight on 26 October between Tokyo Narita and Hong Kong, will be followed by introduction to scheduled revenue service on the Tokyo Haneda to Okayama and Hiroshima routes on 1 November. The first long-range service is expected to begin in January, connecting Haneda with Frankfurt. ANA said it expects to receive its second aircraft, Airplane 24, in mid-October, and anticipates delivery from Boeing of at least two 158-seat, long-haul configured aircraft, both with upgraded Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 Package B engines, before the end of 2011. The Package B engines remain in certification testing aboard test aircraft ZA004.

Boeing plans to accelerate 787 production in November, advancing to 2.5 aircraft a month across its final assembly facilities and supply chain, maintaining its goal of 10 aircraft a month by the end of 2013.

After reaching rate 2.5, the ­production acceleration will hold until March or April when it will advance to 3.5 aircraft a month, said Boeing. The airframer did not provide details on its pacing to 10 aircraft a month. Boeing is currently producing two aircraft a month.

The new details show the pace of the 787 ramp-up has slowed since earlier this year. In March, Boeing chief financial officer James Bell projected the company would deliver 2.5 aircraft a month by early in the third quarter, or between two and five months ahead of the current schedule.

Boeing chief executive Jim McNerney said the company expects to reach a cash positive position on a unit basis before 2020, meaning its production costs on each 787 will be lower than its aircraft sale price.

The company declined to project when it would break even on its multi-billion dollar investment, which has skyrocketed due to the development delays. However, Boeing plans to release preliminary accounting information regarding the 787's profitability on 26 October during its quarterly earnings call, the same day as the type's maiden service.