Reuters reports that with only a few months remaining before Boeing’s stated goal of delivering the first 787 “Dreamliner” to launch customer All Nippon Airways, the planemaker is on target to deliver the first plane by September with an August delivery still possible.
The timeframe is certainly subject to any last-minute modifications discovered during testing but barring anything major, it seems likely that we will see Dreamliners carrying commercial passengers in the near future.
The planemaker and ANA will conduct test flights in Japan in the week beginning July 4 ahead of the handover, they said in a joint statement in Tokyo today. The flights will include trips from Tokyo’s Haneda airport to Itami and Kansai airports in Osaka, and to airports in Okayama and Hiroshima.
Boeing has pledged to deliver as many as 20 Dreamliners this year after the first handover was delayed seven times by the use of new materials, engine-supply disruptions and other problems. Tokyo-based ANA, Asia’s largest listed carrier by sales, has started training pilots to fly the new planes that will help it cut fuel usage and boost services.
Boeing also reaffirmed this week that it would prefer to launch a brand new plane to replace the 737 while also saying that they were still open to the idea of simply putting new engines on the company’s most popular commercial plane. It has long been suspected that Boeing would announce its plans in time for the Paris Air Show but Boeing said that an exact timeframe for the decision had not been made and that a decision wasn’t likely until year’s end.