All Nippon Airways, launch customer for the Boeing 787, has taken contractual delivery of its first of 55 aircraft three and a half years late.

Boeing completed the transaction early on 25 September in Everett, Washington, officially giving ANA ownership of the aircraft maker's majority composite flagship product, said Scott Fancher, 787 programme vice president and general manager.

Fancher announced the historic step while briefing reporters shortly after 09:00, local time.

"Just about an hour ago we did sign the contract with ANA," Fancher said. "The title has been transferred of the first vehicle to ANA, so we're real excited about that."

ANA became launch customer on 26 April 2004, launching the then-dubbed 7E7, in a deal for 50 aircraft, the first of which was due for delivery in May 2008.

After years of delays due to supply chain issues and design changes, Boeing's delivery concludes the long wait by its launch customer, which was deeply involved in the design of the aircraft.

ANA 787 
 Photo by Jon Ostrower
ANA is also Boeing's first non-US launch customer for a new widebody aircraft in its history, underscoring the international nature of the programme's partner base, 35% of which is built by Japanese supplier Mitsubishi, Kawasaki and Fuji Heavy Industries.

The first 787, Airplane Eight registered JA801A, will arrive in Japan at 09:00 Tokyo local time on 28 September.

More coverage of the 787 handover is available at Jon Ostrower's Flightblogger blog on Flightglobal.

Source: Flight International