ANA took delivery of the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner today, marking a major milestone in the project’s lifecycle. Boeing has been working on the Dreamliner for more than 7 years and the initial delivery today with the signing of paperwork is the first step in a three day long celebration for Boeing, ANA and the global aviation community.
After today’s contract signing there will be a ceremonial delivery of the aircraft "keys" on Monday. The airline will fly the plane back to Japan on Tuesday.
Today’s events come a few years after the original predictions. While this delivery is a huge event and most folks are excited there are still a number of folks not so ecstatic about the delivery. According to some sources the project horribly over budget and unlikely to ever be a profitable aircraft for the manufacturer. Plus there are concerns that the plane actually is not ready for service but it was delivered anyways. The article published in today’s Seattle Times is pretty brutal on the overall project, detailing cost overruns, project delays and other issues that have plagued the development and construction of the new airframe.
Boeing spokeswoman Lori Gunter said the 787 team is "on track" to make the delivery.
But an experienced mechanic working on No. 8 believes that jet simply isn’t ready for service. The engineer who flew test flights fears it won’t immediately meet the standard of reliability required by ANA.
The senior engineer, however, dismissed such "bugs" as normal in any new program. "They won’t be nearly as bad as they were for the original 747."
The good news for me is that ANA has the aircraft now. I just hope the reliability issues are not such that I miss my opportunity to fly on it in a few weeks during the first week of scheduled operations.
Photo from the Boeing Company flickr stream
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