Boeing on Monday delivered the first 787 Dreamliner to launch customer All Nippon Airways during a rain-soaked ceremony at the Everett, Washington, factory where workers assembled the airplane.
More than 500 employees involved in the 787 program strode alongside the all-new jetliner as Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Jim Albaugh presented an oversized, ceremonial key to Shinichiro Ito, president and CEO of ANA.
The pomp and circumstance of the ceremony closes the book on a development program beset by a highly publicized, three-year delay and billions in cost overruns. Despite past setbacks, an elated ANA is now preparing to begin passenger service with its maiden 787 in November. The airline said it has worked closely with Boeing to “mitigate the impact caused by the delay” by taking alternative deliveries of Boeing 767s and 777s.
The challenge for Boeing now centers on ramping up 787 deliveries to meet a schedule that calls for building 10 per month by 2013. Boeing holds more than 800 orders for the airplane, with sales in the next 20 years forecast to top $400 billion. ANA said it expects to take delivery of 55 Dreamliners by the end of 2017.