It’s only a week ago since All Nippon Airways took delivery of its 50th Dreamliner. We’d already started to think about how the Japanese airline was making unusual use of these planes, pitched as the solution for long-haul air services, when the story broke about cancelled flights and engine corrosion.
Contrast the average distance for all 21,722 Dreamliner operations this month, which was 4,615km, with the average for All Nippon Airways of just 2,308km - exactly half the distance. The use of 787s by All Nippon on shorter routes can’t simply be due to the need to get pilots used to the relatively new aircraft, as the carrier should be considered a seasoned operator of these planes, being one of the early adopters.
All Nippon’s use of the B787 is distinctive because of the way it is used on high density domestic routes as well as some regional routes.
A look at the profile of the routes where the Dreamliner is used worldwide, compared to All Nippon, shows the dramatic differences. In the beginning, 75% of all B787 routes operated were less than 2,000km but as more aircraft have been delivered and brought into service, this has decreased to the point where it now stands at around 30% on these shorter routes. Today almost a quarter of Dreamliner operations are on routes over 7,000km.
This stands in contrast to the profile of All Nippon services where almost 75% of operations continue to be on routes that are less than 2,000km in length and only 7% are on routes over 7,000km.
While other carriers do use the aircraft on relatively short sectors, there is no other large operator of the Dreamliner with this sort of pattern of flying. So will the current engine problems prove to be unique to All Nippon? We are guessing so.
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