Airlines and aviation companies are hungry for the 787 Dreamliner, with 60 customers around the world snapping up 873 planes, making it the fastest-selling wide-body airplane in aviation history, Boeing says.
The fuel-efficient aircraft allows airlines to operate long-distance flights that don’t attract enough passengers to make them economically feasible on other planes and opens new routes such as Boston to Tokyo on Japan Airlines, the first US route to use the 787. Japan Airlines, which has ordered 45 Dreamliners, will also fly the jet between Tokyo and San Diego, starting in December, and will use it for flights from Tokyo to Beijing, Moscow, Singapore, and New Delhi.
There are two Dreamliner models, the 787-8 selling for $194 million and the 787-9 selling for $228 million. The plane makes the most sense for long-haul international flights because of its range and ability to cut fuel and other costs on the most expensive routes to fly. But analysts said it could eventually be used for transcontinental US flights as well.
All Nippon Airways flies the 787 on several domestic routes in Japan, as well as from Tokyo to Frankfurt, and is planning routes from Tokyo to Seattle and San Jose, Calif.
Among US carriers, United Airlines plans to start flying the first of its 50 787s later this year; one of its first routes will be between Houston and Auckland, New Zealand. Delta Air Lines has signed up for 18 planes, but doesn’t plan to launch them for a few years.
The biggest order so far has come from International Lease Finance Corp., an aircraft leasing company, which requested 74 planes. Icelandair and Air Niugini, the national airline of Papa New Guinea, have each ordered one.
Other airlines going with the 787 include Air Canada, Air France, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Saudi Arabian Airlines. Uzbekistan Airways and Azerbaijan Airlines have ordered two apiece, and the Republic of Iraq is expecting 10. So far, Japan Airlines is the only carrier to announce plans to fly the 787 out of Logan International Airport.