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[UPDATE – images of VT-ANI recent state]

As the 787 starts to settle into operations it is a good idea to get a handle on how it is operating. Judging from the news reports, one is sometimes left with the impression this aircraft has a lot of teething troubles. As is always the case, rather than react to the frequently excited media, take a look at the data.

In developing this story we made extensive use of data from masFlight, the leading airline operations data warehouse.

Look at the first half of 2014.  Data is available for about 70% of scheduled 787 operations (note the caveats below the table). and includes some interesting tidbits, for example, the Finnair flights were a wet lease from LOT.  Airlines are reluctant to share this level of information.  An exception is Japan Airlines; take a look here.

2014-10-06_13-25-42Now look at the data from July through September which covers about 90% of scheduled 787 flights.  (Note that in both periods, the Finnair 787 flights were operated by LOT.) Completion factors are up from 99.1% to 99.5%.  Whereas cancellation/completed flights is 0.98% through June, between July and September saw this decline to 0.59%, which is a marked improvement.


As the data shows the 787’s operational performance is really good – better than many people may realize. The aircraft averaged 99.5% dispatch reliability at the end of September – not as high as Boeing wants (99.9%), but still good.   By comparison, the benchmark 777-300ER has a flight completion factor of 99.9% and a block variance of -8 minutes.  On average, the 787 fleet’s block times have been between 5-6 minutes shorter than scheduled. One can argue that schedules are padded, but even so the aircraft is delivering. It may not yet be as good as the 777-300ER yet, but it will get there.

That said, here’s another interesting item worth noting. One of the airlines with the largest number of media reported 787 “events” is Air India. It seems that every other week there’s a new story; this came out yesterday. The data in the table above suggest these media stories are perhaps too dramatic.  All Nippon has a much bigger fleet and has lots of cancellations, but you never hear about it.  Meanwhile take a look at this next table where you can use the links to track Air India’s 787 fleet in real-time.  Uniquely, Air India has the only MIA 787.

Air India’s 787-8 Fleet
Line #
Days Old
Years Old
36276 35 Everett VT-ANH 9/5/12 761 2.1 Link
36278 29 Everett VT-AND 9/18/12 748 2.0 Link
36277 46 Charleston VT-ANI 10/5/12 731 2.0 Link
36282 60 Charleston VT-ANK 12/19/12 656 1.8 Link
36283 65 Charleston VT-ANL 12/28/12 647 1.8 Link
36281 54 Charleston VT-ANJ 1/2/13 642 1.8 Link
36284 72 Charleston VT-ANM 6/18/13 475 1.3 Link
36285 90 Everett VT-ANN 8/26/13 406 1.1 Link
36286 91 Charleston VT-ANO 10/1/13 370 1.0 Link
36275 32 Everett VT-ANG 11/1/13 339 0.9 Link
36280 30 Everett VT-ANE 12/3/13 307 0.8 Link
36279 26 Everett VT-ANB 1/31/14 248 0.7 Link
36273 25 Everett VT-ANA 3/7/14 213 0.6 Link
36287 158 Charleston VT-ANP 6/3/14 125 0.3 Link
36274 28 Everett VT-ANC 6/24/14 104 0.3 Link
36288 180 Charleston VT-ANQ 7/20/14 78 0.2 Link
36289 208 Charleston VT-ANR 10/2/14 4 0.0 Link

The aircraft that warrants attention is VT-ANI (highlighted in red). This aircraft has not operated a flight since April 21st this year. Boeing advised us to contact the airline to find out where it is. Air India has not responded to our request for information. Inquiring minds would love to know what has happened to this aircraft.  Rumor has it VT-ANI is in Mumbai and has been cannibalized like VT-ALH was for parts.  Which would be an ignominious end for a two year old.

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