Japan’s All Nippon Airways on Sunday signed a delivery contract for receipt of Boeing’s first 787 Dreamliner, more than three years later than initially planned.
A ceremony marking completion of the deal was scheduled for Monday in Everett, Washington, where Boeing has its assembly facility. That comes ahead of the jet’s being flown to Tokyo for the first time Tuesday, according to aviation giant Boeing’s statement.
ANA is the launch airline for the troubled 787 programme and has 55 of the aircraft on order.
Boeing had originally promised to roll out the aircraft in 2008, but a string of technical mishaps and delays have slowed testing programmes for the jets.
The highly anticipated 787 Dreamliner is made out of lighter materials that help increase its fuel efficiency, while it boasts larger windows and more humid cabin air than conventional jets.
Boeing says this will allow passengers to arrive at their destinations more refreshed.
Shinichiro Ito, president and CEO of ANA Group, said last month the Dreamliner “will play an important role in our international expansion strategy as we seek to become Asia’s number one airline.”
The mid-sized plane is key to Boeing’s future. It is the maker’s first new design in more than a decade, drawing on huge advances in aviation technology, and can fly long-haul routes using up to 20 percent less fuel.
Boeing, the world’s second-biggest aircraft-maker after Airbus, launched the Dreamliner programme in April 2004 and initially had planned to deliver the first plane to ANA in the first half of 2008.
But the aircraft, which can seat up to 330 passengers, only made its maiden flight in December 2009.
The series of delays in the 787 programme has cost Boeing billions of dollars as some airlines canceled their orders.