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ANA targets first 787 commercial flight in March after fresh delay

Boeing 787 launch customer All Nippon Airways (ANA) now aims to operate its first commercial flight with the 787-8 in March, following Boeing's announcement today of a fresh delay to the programme.

A spokeswoman from the airline, which had initially expected the first delivery this year-end, says the delay is "regrettable".

"It is regrettable to hear of the delay, but we trust that the time will be used to deliver the best possible aircraft," she adds.

Boeing said today that the first delivery will slip further to the middle of the first quarter of 2011, following issues with the aircraft's horizontal stabiliser and Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.

ANA is aiming to operate its first 787 commercial flight to a domestic destination a month after the first delivery, to allow its pilots to familiarise themselves with the new aircraft before flying it on international routes.

"Assuming that the aircraft arrives in February, we will conduct the first commercial flight in March," says the spokeswoman.

The airline plans to introduce the 787 on international routes two to three months after the first commercial flight, which would put its first 787 international flights in May or June.

While the carrier has not announced specific destinations, it has said it could operate the 787 to cities now served by the 767, such as Beijing and Shanghai.

Operating the aircraft on overnight flights to Europe from Tokyo's Haneda Airport is also a "high possibility", says the spokeswoman.,

"Currently, there are restrictions on operating large aircraft at night from Haneda. If we use the 787, which is a mid-sized jet, we will not have that problem," she adds.

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