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Seattle Times aerospace reporter Dominic Gates covers top industry events to bring you the latest news, highlighting how it impacts Boeing and its competitors.

September 25, 2011 at 11:45 AM

ANA looking to fly 787 Dreamliner to Seattle

Posted by Dominic Gates

ANA tail from below Aug 2011.jpgSatoru Fujiki, senior vice president with ANA, said the airline is looking to open new international routes and that Tokyo-Seattle would be the "perfect market" opportunity.

He also said ANA has greatly accelerated its delivery pace, taking a dozen of the new planes by the end of next March. So a Dreamliner scheduled for Seatac could happen sooner rather than later.

What makes the 787 attractive to airlines wanting to exapnd their route networks is that it's a medium-size airplane with tremendous range, ideal for opening new long-haul routes. Previously the only airplanes capable of flying 8,000 miles and further were big jets like the 777 and 747 jumbo, which seat 365 and more than 400 passengers respectively.

To put a plane that big on a route and fill it required a big demand.Those jets serve megacities like New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles.

With the smaller 250-seater 787, which is also more fuel-efficient, the business case for routes to smaller cities like Seattle can suddenly make sense. Fujiki announced that ANA will open Tokyo to Frankfurt as its first new international route in January.

That's what the industry means by calling the Dreamliner a "game-changer."

Fujiki said ANA will take four Dreamliners this year and eight more by the end of March. He said the airline will have all 50 of the Dreamliners it has on order by 2017.

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