Ceremonies over, the first Dreamliner to actually get delivered to an airline is about to leave Everett 40 months late and so heavy it is useless for long range flights.

Instead the 787-8 will enter for short haul service with launch customer All Nippon Airways on 1 November, with daily flights between Tokyo Haneda and Okayama and Hiroshima.

These words may strike some readers as unduly harsh, but in an industry where patsy press release cut and pasting is the normal form of investigative reporting, and three years of atrocious misinformation from Boeing has been ignored or side-lined we’ll stick to our words.

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It is truly wonderful to see the first 787-8 Dreamliner head off into commercial service,  but the delays and questions about the jet’s actual performance need to keep firmly in view, especially given its importance to Jetstar, its shrinking Qantas affiliate, and Air New Zealand.

The plastic airliner (propped up with prodigious amounts of metal) is supposed to be delivered to Jetstar sometime in 2013, and Air New Zealand, which is the launch customer for the 787-9 ‘stretch’ has been promised it will get its first delivery at the end of 2013.

Not even Air New Zealand believes that, and has officially referred to it as arriving in 2014, which is also three years later than it was promised when it signed up for the longer range, higher payload derivative.

Qantas is supposed to get 787-9s in 2014, 2015 or even 2016 depending on who you speak to.  Originally Qantas/Jetstar was going to get 787s  from August 2008, a date Boeing swore was set in concrete even early in that year. If it had, and if the jet had performed as promised, recent events and misfortunes at Qantas might never have occurred,  as the 787-8s and -9s would have allowed it to get rid of its aged Boeing 767s and through scheduling changes, accelerated the retirement of its oldest Boeing 747s.

This YouTube covers the pre-delivery inspections of the first 787-8 by All Nippon Airways team members in Everett.



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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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