All Nippon Airways unveiled on June 22 the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner due to fly long-haul commercial routes, vaunting it as a key to the ambitious Japanese carrier's expansion.
"We have a target to expand our international network and the 787 will play a significant role in that target," Shuichi Fujimura, a senior vice president of the airline (ANA), said, presenting a model of the plane's future dark blue striped livery.
He said the airline hoped to expand in Asia and could one day directly serve new destinations in Europe. The specific routes have not yet been decided" and the 787 will not replace the bigger 777 long-haul jets currently running on routes such as Tokyo to London. But he added that it was "possible" to eventually multiply services on these routes using 787s, or open up new destinations.
"If we had new destinations, we can think of Duesseldorf, Brussels, Barcelona -- those destinations which are not covered by non-stop flights currently," he said.
The Dreamliner wowed the crowds when it landed on June 21 at the Paris Air Show, the world's biggest aviation industry fair. It is heralded as a new generation of highly fuel-efficient mid-sized aircraft for long-haul routes.
Boeing has long delayed its first delivery to ANA, which Fujimura said is now expected in August or September. Boeing had originally promised to roll out the plane in 2008, but a string of technical mishaps and delays have slowed the testing program for the jet.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011