All Nippon Airways, showing increasing impatience with Boeing over delays to 787 deliveries, will ask the manufacturer for an assurance that it can meet the latest schedule.
The carrier, launch customer for the 787, says Boeing’s announcement of a new delivery schedule is welcome, because it eases uncertainty
“However, the aircraft is now three years late and has been delayed seven times, so we will be looking to Boeing for assurance that it can meet this latest delivery date,” says a spokeswoman. “We will also be seeking from Boeing a full schedule for delivery of all the 55 aircraft on order from ANA to allow us to prepare properly for the introduction of the new aircraft and plan our new route network and fleet expansion strategy.”
Boeing now says the first 787 will be delivered to All Nippon in the third quarter.
Separately, the airline plans a major increase in services to China as part of a 17.4% boost in international capacity for the financial year beginning on April 1.
The previously announced joint venture between the Japanese carrier and United and Continental will begin on the same day, All Nippon says.
The increasing gravitational pull of the Chinese economy is attracting increased services to major cities in the country, a resumption of service to another, a new service to one, and the deployment of larger aircraft.
All Nippon will also increase its Japanese domestic capacity, by 2.6%, while seeking to use its aircraft more intensively as it awaits delivery of “the much anticipated Boeing 787.”
“Following the expansion of capacity at Tokyo airports in FY2010, ANA has worked to establish new destinations and increase flights on existing routes,” the airline says. “A further increase in runway slots is planned in the medium term, and this represents an opportunity for ANA Group to expand operations in what is becoming an intensely competitive business environment.
“In addition, the airline industry generally is facing more competition from other modes of transport, for example the opening of full Shinkansen bullet train services to Kyushu.”
The 2011 network will introduce All Nippon’s first service to inland China. The planned daily service, between Tokyo Narita and Chengdu, is part of a trend in which non-Chinese airlines are trying to make money from the big mainland cities other than Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Those markets are often challenging, however, because such cities are less developed, have few of the national corporate offices that generate strong international business traffic and are often poorly known to foreign leisure travelers.
Services between Tokyo Haneda and Beijing and Shanghai will double to twice daily, while 767-300s replace narrowbodies on one of the two daily flights from Narita to Beijing. The service to Shenyang in northern China will also be increased in frequency.
The suspended service between Chubu and Shanghai will be resumed at a daily frequency.
Domestically, All Nippon will maintain the increased frequencies it introduced in last year in the face of rising competition, including competition from fast trains. Routes from Haneda to seven domestic destinations will edge up in frequency, including the service to Itami, which is rising to 15 services a day from 14.
Services radiating from other hubs are increasing in frequency, while just six routes are being reduced.
Growth is being fed by the arrival of new 767s and 737s, but the carrier will begin to retire 767s from domestic service. “Retirement of the DHC-Q300 will also begin, and a gradual consolidation of aircraft to the DHC8-Q400 model will be implemented for propeller aircraft,” the carrier says.