Saturday, September 12, 2015

ANA and Boeing unveil first Star Wars jet

Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) and aircraft manufacturer Boeing have unveiled the first of three airliners that will be painted in Star Wars livery.

In front of a crowd of dignitaries from ANA and Boeing (NYSE:BA) as well as members of the media, the two companies debuted the first Star Wars jet, a 787-9 Dreamliner decorated with the likeness of R2-D2, on Saturday, Sept. 12.



The plane's namesake R2-D2, C-3PO and a phalanx of ominous Imperial Storm Troopers were on hand and helped bring the fantasy of the Star Wars movies to life on the tarmac outside the paint hangar at the Boeing facility at Paine Field in Everett, Wash.

R2-D2 and C3-PO at unveiling of Star Wars R2-D2 jet, Boeing, Everett Washington
The R2-D2 jet is the first of three to be rolled out. Others that will debut later this year include a Boeing 777-300ER with the likeness of BB-8, a character that will debut in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the latest movie in the franchise scheduled for theatrical release in December 2015.

ANA will also designate a Boeing 767-300 as the Star Wars ANA Jet. It will showcase both BB-8 and R2-D2, who has been a Star Wars icon since the first Star Wars movie was released in May 1977. These Star Wars themed planes will join the R2-D2 ANA Jet.

ANA is decorating the planes with Star Wars characters as part of an agreement with The Walt Disney Company (Japan) Ltd., designed to promote the Star Wars movie franchise.

Imperial Storm Troopers at unveiling of Star Wars R2-D2 jet, Boeing, Everett Washington
The three themed jets will fly both international and domestic routes. On Oct. 18, the R2-D2 Dreamliner is scheduled to go into service on international routes, initially flying between Tokyo and Vancouver, B.C. (YVR), and then between Japan and other cities in ANA’s international network including the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and San Jose, California (SJC); Munich, Germany (MUC); Paris; Brussels (BRU): Sydney, Australia (SYD); Beijing, China (PEK); and Jakarta, Indonesia (CGK).

In November, the decorated Dreamliner will fly domestic Japanese routes, and then in March 2016 the 777-300 with its BB-8 decoration is scheduled to start serving international routes principally between Japan and North America, though the exact routes have yet to be announced. Fans will be able to see the planes’ schedules at www.ana-sw.com.

Unveiling of Star Wars R2-D2 jet, Boeing, Everett Washington
The themed jets are part of a five year promotional contract with Disney for the Star Wars brand. As part of the agreement, the three planes will also display in-flight decorations, such as headrest covers, paper napkins and cups featuring movie characters. In addition, the partnership makes ANA the only airline in the world to offer all six of the currently released Star Wars films as part of its in-flight entertainment options on international routes.

Screening of those films, from Nov. 1, 2015 to Jan. 31, 2016, will be the first time that any of the Star Wars movies have been included as part of an in-flight entertainment system.

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Video and photos by Carl Dombek
Click photos to view larger size images

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