Inside Japan

All Nippon Airways (ANA) was founded in 1952. It started initially with helicopter service but it later introduced the Douglas DC-3 on domestic flights. The airline flew prop liners and helicopters until it introduced the Boeing 727 in the middle of the 1960's, it was the first jet aircraft to join the fleet at ANA. The Boeing 737 was introduced a few years after. It was only the 1990's that the first Airbus A320, the 727 replacement, would be introduced on domestic flights.

In the 1970's ANA began expanding rapidly on its domestic network within Japan. It introduced large jets, the Boeing 747, the Lockheed L-1011, and later the Boeing 767 in its fleet. The DC-10 was also considered but the L-1011 was chosen at the last moment. Air travel was growing rapidly, although ANA had only developed a domestic network at that time, the number of passengers carried annually increased tremendously, not surprising for a highly populated country. Boeing built at the request of JAL and ANA, the 747-100SR, a short range version of the 747, and also the 400D (D for Domestic) later on. ANA was an early customer for the Boeing 767 when it was all new in the early 1980's, it introduced the 200 and a few years later added the 300 to its fleet. It's normal, JAL and ANA were early customers for the Boeing 767 because Boeing has always worked with Japanese suppliers or sub contractors.

The first charter flight to a foreign destination was inaugurated as early as 1971 but it wasn't until 1986 that ANA began scheduled flights to international destinations outside Japan. Destinations added to the network included but were not limited to Paris, London, Frankfurt, Washington DC, Beijing, among others mostly in Asia. ANA has a more important network inside Japan, than outside Japan.

ANA was the first non US airline to introduce the Boeing 777 on scheduled flights in 1995. ANA has now a large fleet of Boeing 777's, both 200ER and 300ER variants, replacing the last Boeing 747's in service. The Classic 747's are now retired, the last one left the fleet in 2006, and the 400's are now progressively leaving the fleet. The last 400 will leave in the early 2010's. Gone also are the L-1011's and the Boeing 767-200's (the 300's are still in service).
ANA was the launch customer for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It launched the new aircraft in 2004 when it was still called 7E7, with an order for as many as 50 units. The first delivery was scheduled for 2008 but with the delays Boeing has been facing, the first delivery has been postponed till no earlier than 2009. The 787 will gradually replace the 767-300 and the Airbus A320 on domestic flights, and it will also be operated on international markets where load factors in a 747 or 777 would not be sufficient for ANA to make profit.
ANA has also introduced the Boeing 737-700 on domestic flights, it will replace in the near term future the Airbus A320. This being said, the future fleet at ANA in the long run will consist of three Boeing models: the 737-700, the 777 (200ER and 300ER) and the 787.

ANA's freighter subsidiary, Nippon Cargo, was one of the first airlines to order the 747-8F from Boeing in 2006, but ANA has shown no interest in the 747-8 in passenger version (neither did JAL). They have decided to phase in the 777-300ER as a 747-400 replacement in the long run.

I took a trip with ANA in 2008, inside Japan on a beautiful nature trip to Hokkaido. I flew on an A320 from Tokyo Haneda to Kushiro. I was surprised to see that there was no First Class cabin inside the aircraft, only one main cabin. ANA isn't a low cost carrier. I found out that ANA's aircraft are mostly configured exclusively with economy class cabins. Only long haul large aircraft such as the Boeing 747 and 777 have a Business Class cabin.
ANA is a member of the Star Alliance, founded by United, Lufthansa, Air Canada, SAS and Thai in the 1990's.
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