Japan's ANA airline presents Boeing Dreamliner
All Nippon Airways unveiled Wednesday 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), told reporters, 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, he said.
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 Tuesday at the Paris Air Show, the world's biggest aviation industry fair.
On the rainy third day of the show, visitors were able to splash through the puddles to climb aboard ANA's Boeing 787 and admire its larger-than- normal cabin windows, a point of pride for the airline which it said will give passengers more light and a better view.
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 programme for the jet.
It is heralded as a new generation of highly fuel-efficient mid-sized aircraft for long-haul routes.
© 2011 AFP