All Nippon Airways has confirmed for the first time excess weight has pushed the airline to deploy early 787s on short haul and regional operations rather than long-haul routes.

"The early 787s are actually much heavier than later-coming deliveries," said ANA senior vice president Satoru Fujiki during a briefing to reports in Everett, Washington. "So, for those aircraft we have taken an option to introduce those aircraft for domestic short haul and regional operations."

Both Airplanes Eight and 24, the first two deliveries to ANA, will be configured with 264 seats for short-haul and regional operations. ANA has not disclosed which of its deliveries will have its 158-seat long-haul international configuration, but plans to start a three-times weekly service from Tokyo's Haneda Airport to Frankfurt in January.

Boeing has not provided any specific figures on how much excess weight the 787 is carrying, but confirms that early aircraft are heavier than planned.

Starting with its 20th 787, Boeing will increase the maximum takeoff weight of the 787 from 219,539kg (484,000lb) to  227,930kg (502,500lb) to recapture some of its lost payload range capacity.

ANA and Japan Airlines, both early launch customers for the 787, were the only two carrier to order the short-haul 787-3, which was later permanently shelved by Boeing in January 2010 after engineering resources were diverted to the -8 and -9 models. 

ANA is scheduled to receive all 55 787s, including 15 787-9s, before April 2018. Of the first 20 deliveries, ANA will receive the first 12 by 31 March 2012 and the next eight aircraft before 1 April 2013.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news