Japan Airlines Boston Arrival Marks First Boeing 787 Dreamliner Flight to United States
Japan Airlines pushed its Boeing 787 Dreamliner into revenue service for the first time on Sunday, christening it with a groundbreaking new route linking Tokyo to Boston.
Despite low ceilings and a gloomy forecast, JAL Flight 8, operated on the airline’s first-delivered 787 (JA822J), touched down at Boston Logan International Airport about 15 minutes ahead of its 11:30 am scheduled arrival.
A traditional water cannon salute from one of the airport’s fire trucks greeted the new jet as it taxied to Terminal E. At Gate E4, a welcome ceremony awaited, attended by several local dignitaries and Japan Airlines executives.
Sunday’s 6,072 mile, 13-1/2 hour flight set at least 10 milestones:
- First 787-operated airline flight to the United States
- First 787 revenue flight for Japan Airlines
- First transpacific revenue flight by a Boeing 787
- Longest scheduled 787 route
- First revenue flight of a 787 powered by General Electric GEnX engines
- First revenue flight of any GEnX-powered passenger aircraft
- First nonstop flight between Boston and Asia
- First time a 787 has been used to launch a new route
- First new international carrier to serve Boston in three years
- First route to take advantage of Logan’s International Incentive Program, in which carriers flying to Asia, South America or Africa can receive landing credits and advertising support from the airport.
Japan Airlines said both the inbound and outbound flights were sold out, and bookings for the next several months were “excellent.” The airline is seeking to capitalize on the 400,000 travelers who fly between Boston and Asia every year, who until now have been forced to connect through other cities in the US or elsewhere.
At a ceremony in Tokyo prior to the first flight’s departure, JAL President Yoshiharu Ueki explained the benefits of the new aircraft: “By deploying the 787 Dreamliner on long-haul routes to markets that can garner substantial travel demand such as Boston, JAL is making the best use of the aircraft’s long-range capabilities, appropriate capacity, and its economic performance.”
The new service will operate four times weekly, on Dreamliners fitted with 186 seats: 42 in Business Class and 144 in Economy. Frequency increases to daily on June 1, by which time JAL will have received additional 787s. So far two of the airline’s 25 Dreamliners have been delivered.