Despite battery fixes that will likely put its fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners back in the air next month, All Nippon Airways may not resume its 787 service from Tokyo to Seattle until September.
Both of those routes were pioneering routes for the 787, which with its fuel-efficient design was well-suited for more developmental routes from mid-sized cities to ANA’s Tokyo hub. ANA began its Seattle-Tokyo route last July using Boeing 777s and then last fall substituted the smaller 787.
American and Japanese authorities grounded all 787s in January after two lithium-ion battery meltdowns aboard Japanese airliners. One of those airliners was owned by ANA, its battery incident occurred on a Japanese domestic flight. The plane made an emergency landing. All aboard were safe.
Boeing last week received Federal Aviation Administration approval to modify its batteries, their charging software and containment to prevent additional meltdowns or fires. Japanese authorities are expected to follow suit.
ANA initially attempted to keep its Seattle service going by using 777s every other day, but abandoned that service when it became evident that the grounding would last several weeks.
All Nippon faces major competition on the Tokyo route from Seattle. United Airlines flies a daily roundtrip on that route. And Delta Air Lines flies two daily roundtrips, one to Narita Airport and a new route to close-in Haneda Airport in Tokyo.