Connect to share and comment

Japan's All Nippon Airways resume Boeing Dreamliner flights

Japan has put the Dreamliner back in the skies for the first time since the planes were grounded in January.

dreamliner japanEnlarge
An All Nippon Airways' (ANA) Boeing 787 dreamliner is pulled by a towing tractor at Tokyo's Haneda airport on January 16, 2013. (Yoshikazu TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)

Japan's All Nippon Airways have resumed their Boeing Dreamliner flights a few days earlier than expected, four months after the planes were grounded due to techincal trouble. 

Japanese airline ANA was slated to have the Dreamliner back in commission on June 1, but bumped up its debut in anticipation of a high customer demand, USA Today reported

The launch flight flew from Sapporo in northern Japan to Tokyo's Haneda airport Sunday evening. 

ANA is Boeing's biggest customer in the world, with 17 planes in commission of the 50 dreamliner 787s that were released. 

"We have implemented full-scale preparations with some 200 test flights," ANA vice president Hiroyuki Ito said Sunday, before the inaugural flight. "We will continue to make our efforts so that people can use the flights comfortably." 

"The safety of passengers is our number one priority," Osamu Shinobe, ANA's chief executive, said in a statement on Friday. "The 787 remains a game-changing aircraft, important from an environmental, efficiency and passenger comfort perspective."  

Japan's relaunch follows African and US debuts of the Dreamliner, which were grounded in January after their lithium-iron batteries overheated in two separate cases.

The battery failures led to months of investigation, and in April, US and Japanese regulators formally approved Boeing's battery redesign. 

The nearly-four-month-long grounding is estimated to have cost Boeing at least $600 million.

More from GlobalPost: Ethiopian Airlines returns Boeing 787 Dreamliner to service

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/japan/130526/japan-all-nippon-airways-resume-boeing-dreamliner-flights