But some may have been surprised that Ethiopian Airlines – and not the Dreamliner’s biggest customer, All Nippon Airways (ANA) – operated that flight.
Perhaps ANA was too busy licking its wounds. The grounding of the 787 cost the airline ¥9bn ($92m) this financial year, that’s on top of the ¥9bn it lost prior to 31 March.
The cost to replace the lithium-ion battery with Boeing’s new battery solution is $465,00 for each aircraft (based on US costs). And, it will add a further 150lbs to the weight of the aircraft, making it that bit more expensive to operate.
The total financial impact of the 787 faults is as yet unknown, but Boeing has said it will discuss compensation. No doubt, such discussions will include ANA, which still has 66 Dreamliners on order.
This year marks the airline group’s 60th anniversary and it’s set out a new corporate strategy to take it from 2013 through to 2015.
It will continue to focus on low-cost travel, growth markets and retaining market dominance. The strategy also includes growing its ‘non-airline operations’, such as ancillaries, cargo and MRO.
Regarding cargo, ANA aims to: “Improve aircraft utilisation rates to reduce costs, expand its cargo network by increasing the number of freighters, and carry more freight on ANA’s passenger aircraft and flights made by other carriers.”
It’s also looking to establish an investment management company in Singapore, in June, through which it will make foreign investments using money from its 2012 public stock offering - “In particular in Asia, where high economic growth is anticipated.”
ANA exceeded its profit forecast despite the impact of the 787. Yet, it is making these additional investments because it is fully aware of additional market instabilities.
“Due to airline liberalisation and de-regulation, which has opened up markets in the airline industry, we are seeing intense competition, not only from existing Japanese airlines, but also from major airlines from Asia, Europe, US and Middle East, and from the full-scale entry of low-cost carriers to the market,” ANA said in a statement.
“In addition to this, slot expansion in Tokyo and increasing competition from other modes of transportation, such as the extension of the Shinkansen bullet trains, have intensified competition further.”
Mary-Anne Baldwin, Editor, Airline Fleet Management