For All Nippon Airways (ANA), the 7E7 will be the central plank in an all-Boeing long-term fleet plan that also includes the 737-700 and 777. Most of the 50 7E7s on order will be used in Japan's distinctive domestic market, and the operating economics of the 7E7-3 short-haul variant drove the deal.

Airbus proposed a new short-range airliner dubbed the A30X, but was never invited to compete. The A30X would not have been available until 2014-15, and was not considered a competitor. "The 7E7 was the only aircraft that could fit all of our requirements," says ANA.

Over 80% of ANA's fleet is domestic, including the 37 767s and seven A321s that will be replaced with 7E7-3s. Additional 7E7-3 orders are possible as ANA looks at replacing some of the 16 777s and 13 747s in its domestic fleet. The opening of a fourth runway at Tokyo Haneda airport at the end of this decade will allow ANA to increase frequencies using smaller aircraft.

ANA says the 300-seat 7E7-3 could also be used on routes to China and South Korea, now flown with 767s, while the 7E7-8 international variant will replace the handful of 767s used on medium-haul routes such as to Vietnam and Hawaii.

The 230-seat 7E7-8 could also be used on new long-haul routes of up to 11,000km (5,950nm) that are beyond the 767's range and not dense enough to support 777s, the airline says.

A phase-out strategy has not been decided for ANA's 767s, and its 7E7 order does not allow any trade-ins. At an expected delivery rate of eight aircraft a year, the last of the 50 7E7s will be delivered around 2014. ANA still has eight 767s on order, which will replace older 767s and are likely to be the last of the type to be replaced by 7E7s.

ANA last year ordered 45 737-700s to replace its 28 A320s and 27 737-300/400s between 2005 and 2011. The airline says it will re-evaluate its large widebody fleet in 2007 with the aim of ultimately operating just one aircraft type in this category.



Source: Flight International