Airlines Need New Planes, but the Supply Chain Has Other Ideas — ‘We Have the Solution’
If you’re a passenger in Japan these days, you might be traveling from Narita Airport or Narita Express Airport, depending on if your flight arrives at Tokyo Haneda Airport or Tokyo Narita Airport. You’ve probably never heard of Tokyo Narita Airport, but it’s one of the world’s busiest.
For its part, Japan Airlines (Japan Airlines) is on a fast-paced schedule to replace about 2,000 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, the first of which was delivered in 2012, with about 800 new aircraft by 2022. But, the airline’s chief executive officer, Shigenori Shiga, acknowledged that the global aviation industry had a major problem to address: the supply chain can’t get new planes fast enough to meet demand.
In a wide-ranging interview with the International Business Times, Shiga, who also heads Toulouse, France-based Airbus Group, said that the airline was determined to develop a new type of plane to fill a gap in the market, and that it was working with Boeing to do just that: a smaller airplane with a more fuel-efficient engine than a 787.
The new Dreamliner program will begin with a new plane, the 787-9, due early in 2020, Shiga said, adding that he was also working with Boeing to take design details about the 787 and use them as inputs into the Dreamliner program.
Asked about Japan’s domestic carriers, Shiga pointed out that they had a similar problem and that Japan Airlines needed two types of planes: a 787 and an option on the 747-8 and 777-8, and that it considered buying either type, but decided to purchase new planes rather than leasing them from another carrier, he said.
“We have the solution,” Shiga said. “We