Dreamliner heads to Japan for next test

US aerospace giant Boeing will carry out a flight test of its 787 Dreamliner in Japan in early July with its inaugural customer All Nippon Airways (ANA), the two companies said yesterday.

It will be the first Asian test of the high-tech Dreamliner as the US firm has long delayed its first delivery to ANA, which is now expected in August or September.

The test will be conducted from July 4 to July 8 in flights between Haneda airport in Tokyo and western Japanese airports in Osaka, Okayama and Hiroshima, the two companies said in a statement.

"Giving our employees the opportunity to gain experience with the airplane will help ensure a smoother entry into service late this year," ANA president Shinichiro Ito said.

In January ANA, the inaugural customer for the troubled jetliner, said it would seek assurances from Boeing that it could meet the third-quarter delivery date after the US aviation giant delayed it again.

Boeing had originally promised to roll out the plane in 2008, but a string of technical mishaps and delays have slowed the testing programme for the jets, heralded as a new generation of highly fuel-efficient mid-sized aircraft.