Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner flew into Tokyo from Seattle Sunday for test flights as All Nippon Airways prepares to become the world’s first airline to deploy the new fuel-efficient long-haul jet.
The wide-bodied twin-engine plane touched down at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport at 6:20 am on a maiden flight to Asia as its arrival was broadcast live online and crowds of aircraft enthusiasts gathered in and around the seaside airport.
Painted in the ANA colours of white and blue, the 787 taxied to a hangar through an arch of water sprayed from two airport fire trucks.
“It got good mileage as we used less fuel than what we thought would be enough,” the plane’s Japanese captain Masami Tsukamoto told reporters. “It is an environmentally friendly plane.”
The 787′s fuselage has been made lighter as it is 50 per cent made of carbon fibre and other composite materials. Its fuel efficiency is 20 per cent better than the similarly sized Boeing 767, which will be replaced by the new aircraft, according to Boeing.
The jet, 56 metres (184 feet) long with a wingspan of 60 metres (197 feet), will be tested at five airports, including Osaka’s Kansai and Hiroshima during its six-day itinerary in Japan.
With the help of Boeing officials, it will be checked for its compatibility with boarding bridges, fuelling systems and other facilities at these airports.
ANA has said it plans to introduce 14 Boeing 787s in the year to March 2012 and 10 more the following year. It will eventually deploy a total of 55 Dreamliners.
The first Boeing 787 is expected to be delivered in August at the earliest and the first batch of the aircraft will be used on domestic routes starting in September or October, according to ANA officials.
ANA’s rival Japan Airlines said earlier it would receive five Boeing 787s in the year to March 2012 and use them on a new route to be inaugurated between Tokyo’s Narita and Boston in April.
Boeing has reportedly received orders for 835 Dreamliners from 56 customers worldwide.
The aircraft’s debut has been pushed back several times from the initially planned May 2008 due to delays in development of computer software for flight control and other problems.
A Boeing 787 flew to France in late June to woo crowds at the Paris International Air Show.