On a flight that lasted just over 4 hours, but was more than 3 years behind schedule, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by All Nippon Airways (NH), the launch carrier and the biggest customers for the new plane with a total of 55 orders, completed its first commercial flight on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 from Narita International Airport (NRT) outside Tokyo to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) according to reports published on this date by The Sacramento Bee, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Reuters News Service, and other international media.
A charity auction of flight tickets fetched top prices for the privilege of buying a seat on the inaugural flight. According to The Wall Street Journal, 48-year-old Miami businessman Gino Bertuccio paid $33,930 to take part in the aviation milestone, and was delighted to participate, saying “The feeling is incredible.”
According to MarketWatch, Boeing investors were also delighted after shares of the Chicago based aerospace manufacturer climbed 4.46%, up $2.84 a share to a closing price of $66.56, a trend which continued even higher in after hours trading.
One reason for the Company’s strong market performance was that the inaugural flight of the 787 Dreamliner coincided with Boeing’s Third Quarter 2011 earnings release which exceeded expectations.
Quoting from that report, “The Boeing Company (BA) reported third-quarter net income of $1.1 billion, or $1.46 per share, on revenue of $17.7 billion. Operating margin of 9.7 percent reflects continued strong core performance across the company’s businesses, partially offset by higher pension expense. The company increased its 2011 earnings per share guidance to between $4.30 and $4.40 per share reflecting the strong core performance. Total company 2011 revenue is narrowed to between $68 and $70 billion.”
Airlines placing a total of 797 orders for various versions of the Dreamliner also hope to profit from their decision to operate the 20% more fuel efficient long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner, which is the world’s first major airliner to use composite materials for most of its construction.
Another reason for heightened optimism is that Boeing is enjoying a temporary advantage over its chief competitor, Airbus SAS, whose rival aircraft the Airbus A350 is not expected to be introduced until 2013, barring production delays.
There is a good reason why All Nippon Airways (NH) and Japan Airlines (JL) will be the first carriers to take delivery of the 787 Dreamliner in 2011.
Three major Japanese companies are subcontractors who have helped to build the 787, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and Fuji Heavy Industries.
Some of their representatives were aboard the inaugural flight, along with aviation journalists and paying travelers who were included in the 240 first flight passengers, as seen in the attached slide show and video clip which accompany this report.
United Continental Holdings, Inc. will be the first U.S. flag carrier to operate the Dreamliner. It plans to fly the 787 between George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) serving Houston, Texas and Auckland Airport (AKL) in New Zealand, starting in the second half of 2012.
Until then, passengers can only imagine a Dreamliner flight, or experience it themselves aboard a flight from Japan.
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