All Nippon Airways' (ANA) first Boeing 787 has taken off from Tokyo's Narita airport on its inaugural flight.

The special charter service departed from Narita at roughly 12:40 local time on 26 October and is scheduled to land at Chek Lap Kok Airport in Hong Kong at 15:50 local time.

The aircraft, Boeing's Airplane Eight, with the registration number JA801A, is carrying 240 passengers - both members of the media and revenue passengers. ANA auctioned seats to the passengers travelling on the inaugural flight.

The aircraft is configured with 264 seats - 12 in business class and 252 in economy class.



ANA has ordered 55 787s, two of which have been delivered. The airline hopes to have 12 aircraft in service by the end of its current fiscal year ending on 31 March 2012, and another eight one year later.

Airplane Eight was contractually delivered by Boeing on 25 September and arrived at Tokyo's Haneda airport on 27 September.

Scheduled service begins on 1 November between Tokyo Haneda and Okayama and Tokyo Haneda and Hiroshima. ANA's first long haul flight from Tokyo to Beijing, China is scheduled to begin in December.

ANA is operating its first revenue flight of the 787 after more than three and a half years of programme delays. But during a pre-flight press conference, ANA president and CEO Shinichiro Ito said the 787 is a game changer in the world of civil aviation, and with the greater fuel efficiency, ANA plans to operate the aircraft on long haul services to destinations in Europe and North America.

"We have been through hard times in the development of the Boeing 787, but we believe ANA has acquired great growth in being the first airline to fly the airplane," he added.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news