Seat on First 787 Dreamliner Sells for $34,000

Proceeds from the first commercial flight will go to charity.

A single seat on the first commercial flight of Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner has been purchased for more than $34,000 in a charity sale organized by Japan's ANA, the company said Tuesday.

The airline auctioned six business-class seats on the plane's inaugural flight, which leaves Tokyo's Narita Airport bound for Hong Kong on Wednesday.

Bidders pushed up the cost of the ticket on eBay to the equivalent of $34,000 -- around 13 times the price of a regular business-class seat for a flight between the two cities.

ANA declined to disclose the identity of the winning bidder, who will be leaving Tokyo around midday on Wednesday and returning to the Japanese capital on Thursday.

The airline is planning to donate proceeds from the auctions to international environmental NGOs.

ANA also sold 100 economy-class seats for the flight in the form of a tour, including one night's stay at a hotel in Hong Kong for 78,700 yen ($1,000) per adult.

A discount return economy ticket on ANA's Tokyo-Hong Kong route in late October can be purchased at local travel agencies for around 45,000 yen.

The aircraft, Boeing's first 787 Dreamliner to go into service, landed in Japan late September, three years after it was originally promised to ANA.

The delivery came after a string of technical mishaps and delays that have cost Boeing billions of dollars in lost or canceled orders and have seen it give ground to fierce rival Airbus.

Boeing says the twin-aisle 787's construction, partly from lightweight composite materials, means it consumes 20% less fuel than comparable planes, an attractive proposition for airlines facing soaring fuel costs.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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