JAL prepares to be the second 787 operator
JAL will take delivery of its first aircraft in "the weeks to come"
Airplanes 23 and 33, both with 186 seats and registered JA822J and JA825J, respectively, are expected to be handed over to the carrier in late March, say program sources, ahead of the April 22 start to Boston-Tokyo-Narita services.
The airline has completed both route proving and maintenance training following a quiet visit of GEnx-1B-powered 787 test aircraft ZA005 to Japan for service ready operational validation (SROV) trials that lasted from February 20 to March 9
Service from Narita to New Delhi and Moscow, as well as Tokyo-Haneda to Beijing are slated to start following the 787's inaugural US service.
Boeing is nearing an imminent certification for GEnx-1B engine-airframe approval for its 787, a milestone expected to be paired with 330min extended operations (ETOPS) approval.
The GE [certification] coming in the next couple of days, [JAL] will be able to seek operational approval.
To date, Boeing has delivered five 787s, all to All Nippon Airways, which is flying its aircraft on a majority of domestic routes, as well as a sole long-haul connection between Tokyo-Haneda and Frankfurt, Germany.
ANA expected its sixth 787 in February, Airplane 40, and JAL its first, but both required repairs to shims in the aft fuselage, slowing near-term deliveries. As of March 5, Boeing had conducted repair work on five 787s, a number expected to climb further as inspection continue.
JAL is expected to be followed by Air India in May, Qatar Airways and Ethiopian Airlines in June, China Southern in July, LOT Polish Airlines in November, United Airlines in the second half of the year and LAN Airlines as new 787 customers and part of the 35 to 42 deliveries the company has planned in 2012.