Sunday, October 18, 2015

ANA's Star Wars Boeing 787 flies first passenger flight.

On October 17th, All Nippon Airways [NH/ANA] operated a scenic charter flight using Boeing 787-9 JA873A R2-D2 ANA JET, which was unveiled on September 14th (ANA unveils Star Wars Boeing 787 R2-D2 ANA JET.) and had arrived at Tokyo/Haneda [HND/RJTT] on October 2nd after officially being handed over on September 29th. It became the first passenger-carrying flight for the first Star Wars-themed airplane.

Passengers on the scenic flight pose in front of Boeing 787-9 JA873A R2-D2 ANA JET after arriving back at Tokyo's Haneda Airport. Many participants wore costumes of popular characters from Star Wars. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

The sightseeing flight flying from and back to Haneda carried 170 passengers; 49 winners from a photo contest on ANA's website, 25 lucky groups of two who won the draw from 27,315 ANA Mileage Club (AMC) members' applications, and specially-invited guests along with media. R2-D2 ANA JET departed Haneda at 1327 JST and flew over Shizuoka, Nagoya, Miyatsu, Otsu, Hamamatsu, and Oshima, before returning to Tokyo's downtown airport at 1546.

Participants wearing costumes of characters from Star Wars. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

This marks the first time a character from the popular epic space opera appears on the exterior of a commercial aircraft, and the first of three special-themed aircraft featuring Star Wars to be painted by Japan's now largest airline (ANA reveals Star Wars Project.). The stretched Dreamliner is configured with 215 seats in a three-class configuration; 48 business, 21 premium economy, and 146 economy. Headrest covers along with paper napkins and cups also feature the iconic robot character in the series.

A participant dressed up as Darth Vader. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

Its first revenue flight is planned for October 18th as flight NH116 from Haneda to Vancouver [YVR/CYVR]. It will also be deployed to Beijing/Capital [PEK/ZBAA], Jakarta/Soekarno-Hatta [CGK/WIII], Munich [MUC/EDDM], Paris/Charles de Gaulle [CDG/LFPG], San Jose [SJC/KSJC], and Sydney/Kingsford Smith [SYD/YSSY] (ANA announces Haneda – Sydney.). Due to its popularity, ANA has decided to place the aircraft on limited domestic routes on a one-off basis; Haneda to Hakodate [HKD/RJCH] and Miyazaki [KMI/RJFM] on October 20th, to Hiroshima [HIJ/RJOA] and Matsuyama [MYJ/RJOM] on October 22nd, and to Kagoshima [KOJ/RJFK] and Osaka/Itami [ITM/RJOO] on October 31st.

Source: All Nippon Airways Japan @ Facebook.
Source: Aviation Wire, 2015 October 17th. (in Japanese)

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