This delivery marks the official entry into operational service for the General Electric's GEnx-1B engine, making JAL the first airline to receive a General Electric GEnx-1B engine-powered 787.
The delivered 787s, registered JA825A and JA822A, make JAL the second customer for the Dreamliner, after All Nippon Airways.
This is the first time Boeing has delivered two 787s simultaneously. In a statement, Jim Albaugh, president and chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said,
"Today is an important moment in our 60-year relationship with Japan Airlines as we celebrate the deliveries of not one, but two Dreamliners." Albaugh added, "The 787 will provide the fuel-efficient airplane needed to serve Japan Airlines' growing international operations."
Soon after arrival, the aircraft will be on domestic testing flights whose purpose is to train cabin, flight, operations and maintenance personnel. Once this is completed, JAL will start its first 787 service to North America on 22 April 2012. This service will connect Tokyo's Narita Airport and Boston's Logan International Airport. This will be Boston’s first Asia connection.
Yoshiharu Ueki, president of JAL, said the 787 is a "strategic aircraft that will play a key part in the expansion" of the airline.
Boeing 787 is designed for long range, low-density routes, making it possible to join city pairs that would not be serviced profitably by a larger aircraft.
JAL’s services to Moscow, Delhi and Beijing are expected to start before the end of May 2012, as additional aircraft is delivered. JAL also plans to launch services to Helsinki and San Diego towards the end of the year.
The delivery of the two 787s marked a significant milestone and new chapter for JAL, as the airline continues to recover from bankruptcy restructuring nearly a year ago, in March 2011. Two more 787s will be delivered in the very near future, but no date has been confirmed.
The airline, which was one of the earliest launch customers for the 787s, has 45 787s on order, which includes 20 787-9s. These will be delivered in 2015.
The 787s have 186 seats. In the executive class, there is 42 lie-flat B/E Aerospace MiniPod seating in a 2-2-2 arrangement. In the economy class, the aircraft features 144 Recaro CL3510 seats in 2-4-2 configuration. The aircraft also feature Thales i8000 series in-flight entertainment, and JAL is the launch customer for this type of in-flight entertainment.