More good news for Boeing is coming from Farnborough, with ANA (All Nippon Airways) confirming orders for the 737-8 and for the new 777-8F.
Japan was one of the first countries in Asia to unground the 737 MAX. But this didn’t affect any of the country’s airlines. None of them had any such aircraft in their fleets or on order. However, this very nearly wasn’t the case. In January 2019, i.e. weeks before the type’s worldwide grounding, ANA was in discussions with Boeing, for 737 MAX orders.
It now appears that following the grounding and a pandemic, All Nippon Airways has finally gone ahead with the deal. The contract includes a firm order of 20 737-8s, with 10 options. ANA is an existing user of the 737NG, with a fleet of 39 737-800s. It also has 37 Airbus A320-family aircraft, all but four of which are neo variants. And has four more A321neos to replace them.
ANA also had existing orders for 18 Boeing 777-9s. As we’ve seen, this type is facing very long development and certification delays. Originally, the plan was that the first aircraft would enter service in 2020. Now the program is about five years late. But ANA remains committed to the program, choosing to acquire two 777-8F freighters.
ANA Boeing Order – Not Entirely New
However, these jets aren’t a separate new order. The airline decided to convert two 777-9 orders to the 777-8F. ANA currently operates two 777-200Fs and a total of nine 767s for cargo – both factory freighters and conversions.
Koji Shibata, President and CEO of ANA HOLDINGS, said this about the airline’s new Boeing orders:
“We are pleased to partner with Boeing to introduce new airplanes into our world-class fleet that further our commitment to sustainable aviation. The efficiency, reliability and range capability of the 737 MAX make it an ideal airplane to refresh our narrow-body fleet and provide our passengers with the highest level of comfort onboard.
“In addition, the 777-8 Freighters will add flexibility and efficiency to our air cargo network. The 737 and 777 have long been a mainstay of the ANA fleet, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Boeing with these new airplanes.”
ANA and Boeing had all but finalized the 737-8 order several days before Farnborough, where this announcement comes from. But ANA’s 777X order change to the 777-8F is new. Boeing previously listed an order for two 777-8F without identifying the buyer.
Since it launched the freighter variant of the 777X, Boeing has managed to outsell Airbus’ A350F, largely thanks to Qatar. But for now, the certification of the 777X is all but frozen, as Boeing focuses on putting the 737-10 in service.