Singapore Airshow: Rise Of Dreamliner’s Second Life

Japan’s passenger demand will be down 38%, and nearly 450,000 jobs could be lost in aviation, tourism and related sectors.
Credit: Joe Pries

SINGAPORE—With the first Boeing 787-8 expected to return from lease soon, Boeing is forecasting an influx of refurbishment orders as the aircraft enters its second life. 

Boeing VP-commercial sales and marketing Ihssane Mounir, speaking on a Singapore Airshow panel with Japan Air Lines (JAL) and its new LCC venture ZIPAIR, said the list of clients repurposing the aircraft will grow. 

“Boeing Global Services (BGS) is filling up in modifications. We have been doing a lot of smaller seats mods, but what you will see going forward is bigger seat mods,” Mounir added, revealing that the first lease return is expected within the year and the undisclosed customer is looking for full-fledged cabin refurbishment and configuration.

Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) was the 787-8 launch customer and conducted the first commercial flight of the type on Oct. 26, 2011. Both ANA and JAL are the largest lessees of the 787-8, at 31 and 28 aircraft on lease, respectively. 

ZIPAIR engaged BGS to modify two former JAL 787-8s, refitting the aircraft from 206 seats to 290 seats into two class. ZIPAIR will have 18 JAMCO Venture lie-flat seats in its business class and 272 Recaro CL3710 seats in economy. It also removed one galley and removed seat-back monitors, opting for Wi-Fi IFE instead. The LCC’s president Shingo Nishida said the total modifications shaved 500 kg (1,102 lbs.) from the aircraft. 

ZIPAIR will begin its inaugural Tokyo-Bangkok service May 14, followed by Tokyo-Seoul on July 14. It will begin transpacific routes once it attains ETOPS certification. Nishida said ZIPAIR has been able to use JAL’s expertise regarding flight management and maintenance in the certification process. 

Chen Chuanren

Chen Chuanren is the Southeast Asia and China Editor for the Aviation Week Network’s (AWN) Air Transport World (ATW) and the Asia-Pacific Defense Correspondent for AWN, joining the team in 2017.


500kg is 29% of the weight of a 787? WOW!
Less than 2%